CEO Message - March/April 2019
Looking towards the future
As many of you know, Triangle Communications is a cooperative and as a cooperative we are a nonprofit business. You, our members, are the owners. Everything we do is for you, not the quarterly dividend. Our Board is elected by and made up of members. The Board ensures that we are headed in the direction of cost control and rate containment whenever possible. Every day, Triangle strives to provide you with the best possible products and services at the best cost possible.
In this fast-paced world we live in, everyone is looking for the best price on any product and service they use. As competition has moved into some of our serving areas, questions have come up regarding our rates. I would like to discuss why our rates may be higher at Triangle for some of our products and services.
Population density and distance between members is a major factor as it relates to our price structure. Triangle members live in 16 counties from the Canadian border to the Wyoming border, across over 23,000 square miles of Montana. This averages out to less than one subscriber per square mile. The average cost per mile of cable is approximately $21,000. As you can imagine, when you have to recover the cost of the network to provide services to our members, it is going to be extremely high. This is why the Universal Service Fund is of vital importance to Triangle. Without the cost recovery mechanisms that the Universal Service Fund allows, our rates would have to be three to four times higher, just to recover our cost.
Being a cooperative, those cost are shared among our members, no matter where you live; from Broadview to Big Timber, up through Judith Gap, over to White Sulphur Springs, through Winifred over to Fort Benton up to Chester, across to Malta or somewhere else between the borders. We have developed our pricing for copper services to be comparable throughout areas still served by copper and those of you that now have fiber and the ability to obtain higher speeds of Internet, your rates are comparable across our service territory. There have been times, when due to competitive pressure, we have had to offer services in our more densely populated service areas that are priced at less than those in our more rural areas. Those considerations are made to ensure our previous investments made in those areas do not end up as stranded investments.
As Triangle continues to work to bring fiber to our membership, we are not just thinking of right now, we are looking towards the future for you, our members.