About Us

gig certWest Central Telephone Association (WCTA) is a full service telecom cooperative transforming rural communications with advanced fiber-to-the-premise technologies. Services to members include telephone, local and long distance, broadband Internet, TV, security and surveillance, personal emergency response systems, and smart home automation.

Nationally recognized as an NTCA Gig-Capable Internet Provider, we deliver broadband speeds up to 1 Gig (that’s 1,000 Mbps!) to all of our members over our 100% fiber optic network. The network includes almost 1,500 route miles of fiber and spans a 602 square mile area.

WCTA Local Telephone Service Area:

The following communities receive their local telephone service from WCTA.

Aldrich 445
Menahga 564
Nimrod 472
Sebeka 837
Verndale 445
Wolf Lake 538

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WCTA Extended Area Service (EAS) Area:

The following communities are part of our Extended Service Area. This means that they may be able to use some WCTA services without paying additional fees or toll charges. EAS services include Voice Mail, Conference Calling, Mass Announcement and WCTA long distance plans.

Bertha, Hewitt 924
Bluffton 385, 631
Itasca, Lake George 266
New York Mills 385
Nevis 732
Osage, Ponsford 573
Park Rapids 732, 237
Staples 894, 895
Wadena 629, 631, 632
   

Benefits of Being a Cooperative Member

You automatically become a member of the Cooperative when you sign up for local telephone service with us. You must receive telephone service to be an active member. There are no membership dues or forms required.

Did you know that as a member of a cooperative you are part owner? Each time you subscribe to one of West Central’s services like High Speed Internet or TV you are not just a customer; you are making an investment in a company that you actually own!

As an owner of a telephone cooperative, you are entitled to benefits that are not available to customers of private or big name telephone companies. These benefits include:

  • Voting Rights: You elect each representative on the Board of Directors. Their role is to ensure the cooperative provides the highest quality, best value and latest technologies for you and protect your investment.

  • Capital Credits: Any net profit is allocated back to members in the form of Capital Credits. Your percentage is tied directly to what you’ve invested—in other words patronage.

  • Invitations to Special Events: In addition to the Annual Meeting, members receive invitations to open houses, holiday celebrations and more.

  • Community Investment: You can be sure that we aren’t out to make a profit, but rather invest in our communities including members, businesses and schools that depend on the latest technologies remain competitive and be successful in today’s global economy.

To learn more about the Cooperative, refer to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws that are printed in the front of the WCTA telephone directory.

Our Mission Statement

West Central Telephone shall strive to provide exceptional and professional customer service, to promote customer ownership at all levels, and to be a progressive communication services provider with the vision to plan for and provide the services customers may need and want in the future, encouraging individuals and communities to thrive.

Our History

"We should ask that our patrons refrain from rubbering. Cutting in several phones across a party line that is being used may reduce the efficiency of the line to a point where the persons conversing may be unable to hear."  Taken from 1955 Directory

More than 1.2 million Americans receive their local telephone service from a cooperative. As one of about 260 telephone cooperatives across the nation, we are proud to bring world-class services to our members. 

Telephone cooperatives are an example of democracy in action.  Farmers created cooperatives to bring phone service into the rural areas where they lived.  On September 7, 1950 area farmers gathered to form West Central Telephone Association (WCTA). 

WCTA filed the Articles of Incorporation on October 9, 1950. The State of Minnesota approved incorporation on June 16, 1952. Since incorporation, WCTA's technology has evolved through the years.  One thing that hasn't changed is our commitment to our members.

Click Here For More About Our History

West Central Telephone Association began September 7, 1950, at the Todd Wadena Electric Cooperative business office in Wadena, Minnesota. Elmer Larson served as temporary chairman and Paul Richter, manager of Todd Wadena Electric Cooperative, was temporary secretary.

The cooperative's first board meeting was held October 17, 1950 and consisted of temporary chairman George Voss and temporary secretary Paul Richter. Board members included A el Hepola, Harry Nielsen, Matt Pulju, George Voss, Boyd Conley, Gordon Berg, and Alvin Abrahamson. Ray Bradford was the attorney for the association.

Membership fees were set at $5 per subscriber and funds were meager.
1950
Articles of incorporation were filed on October 9, 1950
1951
The bank balance was $253.12
1952
State of Minnesota approved incorporation on June 16, 1952
1952
Sebeka and Menahga telephone exchanges were purchased from Mr.Holman on March 31, 1952, for the amount of $56,000. The Verndale exchange was purchased from Mr. Jules Gadaire for $19,500.
1953
First REA loan approved
1960
Headquarters moved from Wadena to a newly constructed business office in Sebeka Telephone
1957
All exchanges were converted from magneto crank style and common battery service to rotary dial. Services ranged from private to eight multi-party lines.
1969 - 1972
Conversion to all private line service began in 1969 with all exchanges converted by 1972.
1980 - 1987
Conversion from analog to digital phone service, enabling better clarity, quicker call completion, and custom calling features like call waiting and call forwarding.
1995
United Data-Vision, an analog cable TV system was formed as a subsidiary, providing cable television to the cities of Menahga and Sebeka.
1996
West Central Long Distance was offered, and West Central Internet Services soon began offering dial-up internet service.
1996 - 1999
Complete update to fiber optic lines in the entire 602 square mile service area, plus installation of 88 new digital service units so that all customers are within 12,000 feet of a digital service unit. This investment in infrastructure is what allows WCTA to offer present state-of-the-art technology and positions the company for future growth.
2005-Present
Fiber to the Home is 100% complete, offering Internet speeds up to 1 Gig and digital IPTV service to all members.

Board of Directors

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Current Directors: Hazel Yliniemi, representing Wolf Lake; Dave Pulju, representing Nimrod; Naomi Moyer,
representing Verndale; Bruce Kinnunen, representing Sebeka; and Robert Weaver, representing Menahga.