West 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 over 1,700 route miles of fiber and spans a 695 square mile area.
WCTA Local Telephone Service Area:
The following communities receive their local telephone service from WCTA.
|Staples||414, 894, 895|
|Wadena||629, 631, 632|
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.
|Itasca, Lake George||266|
|New York Mills||385|
|Park Rapids||732, 237|
|Staples||414, 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.
"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
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
- 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 100% complete, offering Internet speeds up to 1 Gig and digital IPTV service to all members.
Board of Directors
Dave Pulju, representing Nimrod, Robert Weaver, representing Menahga, Bruce Kinnunen, representing Sebeka,
Dale Schmidt, representing Verndale and Harvey Aho, representing Wolf Lake