Pioneer Telephone Cooperative: Revolutionizing Rural Telecommunications

Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Oklahoma’s first telephone co-op, has come a long way since its establishment in 1953. What started as four telephone exchanges in tiny communities like Fay, Oakwood, Omega, and Loyal has now grown to encompass 76 networks covering 11,000 square miles, serving 16% of the state’s territory. Today, Pioneer is not just about telephone services; it also offers fiber-optics and broadband internet to rural Oklahomans.

Dean Carter, the marketing manager at Pioneer, emphasizes the importance of their role in bringing the future to rural areas. With their services, jobs can now stay at home on farms or ranches, enabling the concept of Rural Work From Home. For the past 70 years, Pioneer has been at the forefront of connecting rural communities in Oklahoma.

Pioneer Telephone Cooperative was formed by Cimarron Electric, the state’s first electric co-op founded in 1936. Over the years, Pioneer has continued to advance its services, recently adding a broadband team and investing hundreds of millions of dollars in fiber-optics installation across its territory in western Oklahoma. Funding of around $280 million from the Federal Communications Commission’s Alternative Connect America cost Model (ACAM) will be supplemented by Pioneer’s own $100 million over the next 10 years, ensuring that nearly 19,000 rural locations receive fiber-optic internet access.

With 500 employees and 94,000 revenue-generating units across its territory, Pioneer Telephone Cooperative is one of the largest telecom cooperatives in the United States. The cooperative serves communities in 45 counties of western and southern Oklahoma, as well as eight counties in southern Kansas. Its services include telephone, cellular, streaming TV, ETS circuits, VoIP, and hosted VoIP.

In the telecommunications industry, Pioneer faces competition from both larger companies and underserved exchanges. Despite this, the cooperative remains committed to delivering exceptional customer service and the latest technology to its members. Pioneer understands the importance of broadband for the future, as it becomes the infrastructure upon which everything runs.

As technology continues to advance, Pioneer Telephone Cooperative remains at the forefront, revolutionizing rural telecommunications. It caters to the needs of both long-time rural residents and those who have migrated to rural areas seeking a better quality of life. By providing advanced technology and the flexibility for remote work, Pioneer is paving the way for economic growth and connectivity in rural Oklahoma.