WCTA is one of approximately 250 rural telephone cooperatives in the United States providing its members state-of-the-art technologies with a personal home-town touch. Originally formed to improve rural telephone service options in the area, the Cooperative now provides several cutting-edge services including IPTV, broadband internet service, and advanced phone features such as voice mail e-forwarding, Wake-Up, and FindMe.
Note: You must receive WCTA local telephone service to be a member of the Cooperative.
WCTA Local Telephone Service Area:
The following communities receive their local telephone service from WCTA.
WCTA high-speed DSL internet is available to our entire service area. IPTV is available only to the towns of Sebeka and Menahga at this time; however, we will continually expand our service area, and will notify residents when service becomes available in their area.
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 dial-up internet, accelerated dial-up internet, Voice Mail, Conference Calling, and WCTA long distance plans.
|Itasca, Lake George||266|
|New York Mills||385|
|Park Rapids||732, 237|
About our Cooperative
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.
As a member, you receive the following great benefits:
･ Capital Credit checks. A major benefit of being a cooperative member is that company profits are returned via capital credit checks. Usually a portion of the allocated profits or credits are paid out immediately and a portion is paid out in the future, so that on any given year your check probably reflects an allocation from the past year, as well as portion of an earlier year`s payout.
･ Voting Rights. As a member, you can nominate and vote for members of the board of directors at the WCTA Annual Meeting. You are also entitled to run for office. See our by-laws listed in the telephone directory for more information on this democratic process.
･ Invitations to special events: In addition to the Annual Meeting, members receive invitations to open houses, holiday celebrations, and more.
･ Investment in the telecommunications infrastructure of your local community: A locally-owned cooperative is dedicated to providing the best possible service to its members. Large cable and telecom conglomerates are mainly interested in the bottom line for their company and will often neglect rural infrastructure investments.
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.
"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
We've Come a Long Way - Our Beginnings
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.
- Articles of incorporation were filed on October 9, 1950
- The bank balance was $253.12
- State of Minnesota approved incorporation on June 16, 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.
- First REA loan approved
- Headquarters moved from Wadena to a newly constructed business office in Sebeka Telephone
Services Evolving Through the Years
- 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.
- United Data-Vision, an analog cable TV system was formed as a subsidiary, providing cable television to the cities of Menahga and Sebeka.
- 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.
- Fiber to the Home is 90% complete, offering 100% fiber optics to all members in the Menahga, Verndale, Nimrod and Wolf Lake exchanges, and all within the city limits of Sebeka. Rural Sebeka members do have fiber to the node, and are able to get broadband speeds up to 10 Mb; once the fiber to the home is complete they will also enjoy IPTV which replaced the analog United Data-Vision TV service in all other exchanges.
West Central Telephone Association is a full service telecommunications company providing local and long distance services, advanced telephone, broadband Internet services, IPTV, business phone systems, complete telecommunications wiring services and much more.