Last October I had the privilege to visit Blacksburg, VA, the original ‘electronic village‘ where I participated in a small symposium of individuals, organizations and businesses involved in bringing broadband access to rural areas of Virginia. One of the companies that presented was Citizens, a cooperative venture bringing telephone, Internet and data services to western Virginia.

Citizens has just announced its expansion of its wireless service to several communities, including, soon, Blacksburg. The interesting aspects of this story are twofold:  The idea of a telecom coop bringing services to underserved areas is something that could be explored for Humboldt, Trinity, Del Norte and Mendecino counties; and the multitiered pricing plans that Citizens is offering. Citizens is a solid company with a great track record in serving rural Virginia and, in some areas competing head to head with larger ISPs. Their business model could work in many other communities. It’s worth exploring.