Bulloch Solutions/Bulloch Telephone Co-Op held its annual meeting at Connection Church in Statesboro last Thursday before one of the largest membership crowds in recent history.
Members and customers heard from Camille Christiansen, Partner with Moss Adams Accounting, for a brief rundown of the financial report and audit from the previous year.
Christiansen offered a few highlights:
- Net margins at $3.6 million with a strong cash flow from operations
- Despite large inflationary changes, expenses for the company have largely stayed flat
- Equity is at 95%, which means there is no long-term debt with the majority ownership in the hands of co-op members
- Fluctuations were largely due to stock market changes in 2022, which had a negative impact across the board, however, other operation gains kept the company in good standing
- Broadband revenue continues to grow every year
- Voice (home phone) revenue has continued to decrease steadily, which is consistent across the industry
- The Universal Service Fund continues to be a strong source of revenue for the company
Managers Report by CEO John Scott
Ending Television Services on December 31, 2023
Bulloch Solutions is ending its television services at the end of the year so all tv customers will need to find alternative service options. Scott said the company has continued to see rising costs from the provider of the services which it has not always passed off to the customer. Subsequently, the company has seen losses on services for several years, prompting the decision to discontinue services.
Any customer who wishes to transition to streaming services can contact the office for assistance and the Buckhead office will similarly be offering classes on streaming practices to help any customers who are new to the service type.
Ending Email Services
The company is ending company-provided email addresses which are currently hosted by a third party. Scott said only 1,300 of over 16,000 customer emails had been checked in the previous six months. The company bears an expense in hosting the other ~14,700 emails and subsequently sees little value on the customer side or the service side.
As is the case with television services, the company is offering transition and swap-over support for anyone who may need it.
Broadband Speed Increases
The company recently increased broadband speeds to all customers who were not currently at 1 Gig, which is the max, at no additional cost to the customer. Additionally, the three tiers of internet have not increased in more than a decade, Scott reported.
Bulloch Solutions is phasing out the monthly fee for utilizing one of their routers – a $6.95/month savings. Scott said the company’s plan has been to transition customers to the company’s routers to avoid tech issues and troubleshooting slowdowns due to other routers from less reliable brands. It will allow for a higher level of service in the long run.
Security & Smart Home Products
Sales of these products remain on the lower end, but Scott encouraged people to leave their comfort zone and explore some of the options available, including home security gadgets, Wi-Fi sourced thermostats and electrical outlets, and more. You can learn more about smart home features offered at Bulloch Solutions below.
IT Services and Repair Desk
The company is still offering in-home services ranging from TV mounting and small speaker installation to larger surround sound set-ups. The repair desk is also available at the Buckhead location for device and equipment issues.
Smart Town & Smart Biz
Smart Town is a new initiative where Wi-Fi is leveraged across the whole community. Under current operations, customers utilize services at home or at the office, but with Smart Town, Bulloch Solutions would build a wide area wireless network that would allow customers to tap into other Wi-Fi networks in public where the services already exist.
Smart Biz is similar in that it will enhance security for devices, particularly for people who work from home, by allowing them to prioritize devices - like work computers - over others, like a child's television. It will also serve as a back-up service option/fail over component for Point of Service (POS) Terminal in the event of a rare service outage with Bulloch Solutions broadband.
More details on both of these programs will be available in the coming months.
Other business handled included the adoption of minutes from the previous minutes and the re-election of members serving on the Board of Directors.