Doing Business in Floyd – Citizens

From Neil Sagebiel:

As you approach the town of Floyd from the north on Virginia Route 8, Citizens sits prominently in a broad, well-manicured clearing, a beacon of modern technology in its rural surroundings.

Founded in 1914 by a group of civic-minded citizens, Citizens provides local and long-distance telephone, dial-up and high-speed Internet and cable television services to more than 20,000 customers in 17 counties.

Robert Weeks, Citizen’s Business Development Manager, Floyd, Virginia “Community-based telecom providers have always built their companies based on serving customers with affordable, quality services,” said Robert Weeks, Citizen’s Business Development Manager, “with one major difference – the customers are neighbors.”

Among other things, that means providing “services our neighbors desire.” Consequently, Citizens’ expansion and investment in new technology have both been ongoing. For example, Citizens offers broadband data services to nearly every corner of Floyd, Carroll, Franklin, Montgomery, Patrick and Pulaski counties.

A 13-year company veteran, Weeks has both witnessed and aided the transformation from a community-based telephone service provider to a regional telecommunications company.

“Citizens hired me to get the word out that Citizens could serve more than just Floyd County with cutting-edge technology.”

Weeks also explained how community-based telecom companies such as Citizens are critical to their local and regional economies.

“Rural local co-ops are frequently one of the region’s largest employers and a substantial contributor to the local tax base. Citizens’ leadership takes a strong role in organizations and civic activities, and is an integral part of the area’s economic development efforts.”

Where is the industry headed?

“We feel that fiber optics is the most reliable and stable means of deploying future broadband services,” Weeks said.

The company has invested millions to deploy fiber optics as back-haul services and a last-mile solution.

“Once you get the super highway in place,” said Weeks, “you can drive just about anything down the road.”

And he’s not talking about Virginia Route 8.


"Doing Business in Floyd" is an occasional series by Neil Sagebiel that spotlights Floyd, Virginia-area businesses and how they thrive in a rural setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Neil Sagebiel is a Floyd, Virginia-based freelance writer who blogs at HEADLINES FROM FLOYD and ARMCHAIR GOLF BLOG.

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  1. Neil,
    Many years, and many software versions ago, Citizens contracted with me to provide staff training on the use of wordprocessors and spreadsheets. Though I taught them about software tools, they taught me what it is like to work in an organization where respect for one another is the tool that helps build great companies. From top level management to part time staff, the way they treated each other, their customers, and outsiders like myself, made it obvious that the word “co-operative” applies not only to their community they serve, but is just how things are done at Citizens.

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