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Our History

 
 
 

Distinguished Legacy in the Cooperative Spirit

Founded in 1986 by electric cooperatives, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), NRTC today serves more than 1,500 rural utilities and affiliates in 48 states. Adhering to the Cooperative Principles created by our members, our solutions help electric and telephone members bring all the advantages of today’s evolving technology to rural America.

1986 – On August 6, directors of the National Rural Telecommunications Council formally incorporate NRTC and begin a membership campaign

1987 – Hires CEO Bob Phillips, former counsel to the Kansas Electric Co-ops statewide organization, who was involved in NRTC activities since the 1985 Council was formed

  • Launches RuralTV C-band service

1988 – Begins investigating technologies that ultimately lead to automated meter reading products

1989 – Bob Phillips testifies before Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, calling for Congress to mandate non-discriminatory pricing and equal access to cable programming. This led to program access provisions of the 1992 Cable Act which were passed by overriding a presidential veto.

1992 – Signs landmark direct broadcast system (DBS) distribution agreement with Hughes Communications and open sale of DBS territories to rural utilities

1993 – Almost 350 rural utilities and 36 affiliated investor organizations commit funds to the DBS project

1994 – DIRECTV successfully launches DBS-1 satellite

1997 – Becomes an Internet service provider with nrtc.net (now TrueBand Internet Services), promoting Internet access throughout rural America

1998 – NRTC breaks ground on Herndon, VA, headquarters building

  • Finalizes long-distance resale deal with AT&T

1999 – NRTC members provide DIRECTV service to 1 million subscribers

2000 – NRTC membership exceeds 1,000 utilities

  • NRTC joins NRECA, CFC and Federated to launch Coop.com

2001 – Enters the two-way, high-speed satellite-based Internet business

  • Strongly supports NCBA in its application for and launching of .coop domain name

2002 – Successfully defeats the proposed merger of EchoStar Communications and DIRECTV

2003 – Invests $29.5 million in WildBlue Communications to deliver satellite Internet access. By year-end, 200 NRTC members sign up to offer the service

2005 – Begins providing Ka-band satellite Internet access with the commercial deployment of WildBlue

  • Forms partnership with National Telecommunications Cooperative Association to offer Internet protocol television (IPTV), later branded TelcoVideo

2006 – Secures controlling interest in Telispire to offer mobile phone service in member communities. NRTC later acquires 100 percent interest

2009 – Invests in Avail/TVN satellite-delivered video company, which begins feeding NRTC TelcoVideo members

2011 – Tim Bryan, former CEO of ICO Global Communications, becomes NRTC CEO

  • New value-added reseller agreement with Sensus allows NRTC to promote wireless AMI solutions
  • NRTC signs distribution agreement to offer Exede satellite broadband service – up to 12 Mbps downstream – over newly launched ViaSat-1

2013 – Acquires NeoNova, a provider of wholesale ISP services and cloud-based solutions based in Raleigh, NC. NRTC will fold its TrueBand ISP business into NeoNova’s and leverage the combined platforms to invest in an expanded services for rural broadband providers.

2015 – Reaches a Master Representative and Marketing Agreement with SoCore Energy, one of the leading solar technology providers, to assist in developing solar energy projects for rural utilities.

2016 – Acquires Pulse Broadband LLC, to enable NRTC to accelerate its efforts to provide a full range of technology solutions to its electric and telephone members in the areas of broadband and communications services.

2017 – Forms partnership with Silver Spring Networks, Inc., to bring high-performance, multi-application Gen5 platform to NRTC's electric utility membership. The agreement allows NRTC to offer reliable, two-way advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and other future smart grid and related applications.

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