Newsroom

South Slope rallies for Camp Courageous and encourages other companies to join  

North Liberty, IA – February 16, 2017 – Employees at South Slope Cooperative Communications, headquartered in North Liberty, Iowa, are coming together to raise funds for Camp Courageous and now extending the challenge to other organizations in the Corridor.

The cause is personal for an employee of South Slope whose son has benefited greatly from his time spent at Camp Courageous. When news spread at South Slope about Camp Courageous’ fundraising needs, employees rallied to help.

 “We are raffling off a paid day off and all proceeds will go to Camp Courageous. For every five dollars employees donate, they get their name entered into the raffle one time,” said Chuck Deisbeck, South Slope CEO. “Additionally, we are matching up to $500 as a company. The contest is still in motion and we have already raised $1,715!”

Camp Courageous serves over 7,000 individuals with disabilities each year. The nonprofit organization is in the midst of a massive fundraising effort to replace their current water system that is antiquated and can no longer fulfill the growing needs and population of Camp Courageous. Their current system does not meet the new standards set by the DNR.

“We have been blown away by the goodwill and excitement of our team members about this effort,” said Deisbeck. “We want to extend this fundraising suggestion out to other companies and hope that it will help with Camp Courageous’ Waste Water Treatment Project.”

For Camp Courageous, the updated waste water system means the difference between clean, pure water and polluted, contaminated water. Donations can be made on the Camp Courageous website at www.campcourageous.org.

South Slope and Aureon Give $8,700 in 2016 Grant Program

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa – February 13, 2017 – South Slope Cooperative Communications and Aureon awarded a total of $8,700 in matching grant funds to local nonprofits during the 2016 quarterly grant cycle.

Since 1993, Aureon (formerly Iowa Network Services - INS) and South Slope have offered a quarterly charity grant program available to any nonprofit organization located in the South Slope service area. Grant amounts are determined by an independent charity grant committee through Aureon.

Quarterly grants from 2016 were awarded to the following nonprofit organizations: American Legion Post 234, Clear Creek Amana Schools, Iowa County Strutt’n Toms (National Wild Turkey Federation), North Liberty Betterment (Community Thanksgiving), North Liberty Community Library, North Liberty Community Pantry, Norway Beautification Committee, Optimist Club of North Liberty, Safe Haven of Iowa County, and T.T.T. Society.

“South Slope is proud to give to these outstanding organizations through our quarterly matching grant program,” said Chuck Deisbeck, South Slope CEO. “We look forward to continuing this program in 2017 and encourage even more nonprofit organizations to submit grant applications.”

Grant applications are available at www.southslope.com/grants. Aureon awards range from $250 to $1,500 and up to $1,000 is matched by South Slope.

South Slope Bowl Challenge Winners

North Liberty, Iowa – January 11, 2017 – South Slope Cooperative Communications is pleased to announce the winners of the South Slope Bowl Challenge college football contest. Out of over 622 participants in the community, Melissa Heft earned the most points in the contest and was awarded a $100 Visa gift card. Elmer Beckler came in second place and received a $50 Visa gift card, and Jonathan Pippert finished in third and won a $25 Visa gift card.

Contest participants were invited to pick who they predicted to win the NCAA football bowl games and earned points for each game they picked correctly. The contest was conducted online and sponsored by South Slope. The Bowl Challenge contest ended Monday night after the Clemson Tigers beat the Alabama Crimson Tide to win the championship game.

“This is the third year of the South Slope Bowl Challenge and we are thrilled to see participation continue to grow,” said Meredith King, South Slope’s marketing director. “The Bowl Challenge is a great way for us to interact with the community and a fun opportunity to follow along with all the college bowl games.”

In March, South Slope will launch a March Mania basketball competition. The signup information will be posted on www.southslope.com when it becomes available.  

Santa at South Slope and Toys for Tots 

North Liberty, IA – (December 1, 2016) –  South Slope welcomes community members to join them for their annual Santa at South Slope event on December 12 or December 13 from 5:30-7:00pm in the South Slope Community Center.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a camera to capture their children meeting Santa. The event will also feature holiday movies, crafts, and coloring. Additionally, this year South Slope has partnered with the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots to be a toy drop location.

Santa at South Slope attendees are invited to bring new, unwrapped toys to the event to donate to the Toys for Tots cause. After the event, local program coordinators will pick up the donated toys and sort them by age and gender to be delivered to families in our community who are in need this holiday season.

“Santa at South Slope is such a fun way for us to connect with the families in our community. We are thrilled to be a Toys for Tots drop location and expand our event in such a positive way,” said Meredith King, South Slope’s marketing director. “We hope our efforts will help make the holidays more special for those in need in our community.”

Visit www.toysfortots.org for additional information on the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program or for a list of additional toy drop locations.

South Slope Announces New CEO

North Liberty, IA – (November 30, 2016) –  South Slope Cooperative Communications, headquartered in North Liberty, Iowa, has appointed Chuck Deisbeck as Chief Executive Officer. Deisbeck will formally begin his role at South Slope on January 16, 2017. Deisbeck succeeds Justyn Miller who was recently named President of Aureon Technology.

“After a national candidate search, we are delighted to welcome Chuck Deisbeck to South Slope,” said Mike Schanz, South Slope Board President. “Chuck is a leader in the telecommunications industry and offers a great deal of technology, regulatory, and management expertise. We are confident his skillsets will contribute to the continued growth and success of the Cooperative.”

Deisbeck currently serves as CEO of Western Iowa Networks, a telecommunications company based in Breda, Iowa. He brings over 28 years of industry experience to South Slope. Additionally, Deisbeck serves on the Board of Directors for the Iowa Communications Alliance and Aureon. He and his wife, Ellen, have four daughters, Alex, Jordan, Megan and Kaylee.

“I am very excited to join the South Slope team,” said Deisbeck. “South Slope has a robust fiber-optic network, talented employees, and a true passion for serving the community. I look forward to continuing the company’s commitment to innovation and delivering superior communications solutions.” 

South Slope Cooperative Communications Annual Meeting  

North Liberty, IA – (June 15, 2016) – Over 160 community members gathered for the South Slope Cooperative Communications Annual Meeting on June 15, 2016 in the South Slope Community Center.

As a cooperative, members of South Slope have the opportunity to run for the Board of Directors, serve on the Nominating Committee, and vote for Cooperative Board Members. This year, Gary Grabe was reelected to the board to represent the ‘At Large’ exchange. Grabe and his wife, Sue, have been Walford, Iowa residents for 32 years.   

South Slope’s annual financials and operating report were shared by Joe Gerot, Managing Partner of Kiesling and Associates, an auditing firm from Des Moines, Iowa. The Cooperative had a positive net margin of $625,293 which will be reinvested into equipment for the company’s continued fiber optic expansion.

At the meeting, Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO, stated, “Although financially demanding, fiber optic technology paves the way for next generation services and is South Slope’s gateway to a successful future. We anticipate continued growth of our internet subscriber numbers in the years to come as the need for reliable, high speed data continues to soar.”

The Cooperative urges residents and businesses in Amana, Ely, Fairfax, Newhall, North Liberty, Norway, Swisher, and Walford to contact South Slope for a free fiber optic conversion while crews are in the area.

Miller also highlighted the company’s recent NTCA Smart Rural Community designation, the company’s philanthropic efforts, and South Slope’s new double refer-a-friend rewards program. Miller said, “It has been an exciting and productive year for the Cooperative. We have an amazing team here that is rolling out technology across the Corridor that will fuel innovation and economic development for years to come.”

Notice of Annual Meeting of South Slope Cooperative Telephone Company

North Liberty, IA – (May 26, 2016): You are hereby notified that the Annual Meeting of the members of South Slope Cooperative Telephone Company will be held in the Community Center at South Slope, 980 North Front St., North Liberty, Iowa on June 15, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. for the following purposes: 

  • To announce election results for the election of directors.
  • Review the financial report, annual audits, and consider any business properly brought before the meeting.

Voting on the election of directors is by mail ballot only, using the form of ballot provided by the Cooperative. The annual meeting of the Cooperative is open to voting members of the Cooperative only.

South Slope March Mania

North Liberty, IA – (April 5, 2016): South Slope is pleased to announce the winners of the Pick-It March Mania college basketball contest. Out of over 480 participants in the community, Sherry Slattery earned the most points in the contest and was awarded first place. In second place was Lois Robson and in third place was Stanley Ditch.

Contest participants were invited to pick who they predicted to win the NCAA men’s college basketball championship tournament games and earned points for each game they picked correctly. The contest was conducted online and sponsored by South Slope. 

The March Mania contest ended Monday night after the Villanova Wildcats beat the North Carolina Tarheels to win the championship game.

South Slope Donates Land in Norway for Veterans Monument

Norway, IA – (October 13, 2015): South Slope Cooperative Communications employees and members of Norway Post No. 234 of the American Legion gathered for a land dedication in Norway, Iowa on October 13, 2015. South Slope donated a parcel of land for a veterans monument on Main Street between their warehouse and the feed mill. With the memorial, the Legion plans to recognize more than 700 veterans dating back to the Civil War.

“We plan on building a veterans memorial for local area veterans, past, present, and future,” said Commander Rick Frame of Norway Legion Post 234. “We are very thankful for South Slope’s generosity.”

“South Slope was happy to make this donation and partner with the local American Legion. We are very grateful for the contributions and sacrifices of our veterans. We look forward to seeing this lasting memorial in the community of Norway,” said Justyn M. Miller, South Slope CEO.

To complete the project, the Legion will need to raise about $70,000 and has currently accounted for $20,000. If you know a local veteran you would like to recognize or if you would like to make a donation, contact the Legion in writing at American Legion Post 234, P.O. Box 88, Norway, IA 52318. The organization has also setup a Go Fund Me site found at https://www.gofundme.com/Legion-Post-234. 

South Slope Awarded NTCA Smart Rural Community Designation

North Liberty, IA – (September 21, 2015): Today NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association recognized North Liberty based South Slope Cooperative Communications as one of 12 communities in rural areas of the United States that has earned Smart Rural Community designation. The Smart Rural Community initiative showcases efforts made by companies like South Slope that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business.

“We are proud to receive this prestigious award. It highlights our fiber-optic deployment efforts for high speed internet, TV, and phone in the communities of North Liberty, Newhall, Norway, Swisher, Walford, Fairfax, Ely, and Amana,” said Justyn M. Miller, South Slope CEO. “High speed fiber-optic technology will be available in 100% of our ILEC territories by year end. This is vital to the economic growth and educational success of our local rural communities.”

NTCA represents nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies. The goal of the NTCA Smart Rural Community initiative is to foster the development of smart communities throughout rural America and Canada by encouraging innovative implementation of broadband solutions. They also require awardees like South Slope to give access to next-generation applications for distance learning, telehealth services, public safety and security.

South Slope and other NTCA Smart Rural Community award recipients were recognized at a gathering of more than 1,500 rural telecom leaders in Boston. Smart Rural Community award recipients will formulate best practices and assist other rural communities in the implementation of innovative broadband-enabled solutions.

For more information about the initiative, visit www.ntca.org/smart

South Slope Cooperative Communications Annual Meeting  

North Liberty, IA (June 17, 2015) - Over 180 community members gathered for the South Slope Cooperative Communications Annual Meeting on June 17, 2015.

At this year’s Annual Meeting, members voted to reelect Michael Schanz to the board to represent the Amana/Newhall exchange. Schanz has served on the South Slope Board of Directors for 13 years and currently serves as board president. Members also voted to reelect David Roberts to represent the North Liberty exchange. Roberts has served on the board for eight years.

Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO, discussed the new voting process which allowed all members to vote by mail, rather than only those attending the Annual Meeting. This change was made by the Board of Directors at the request of the members. Miller also highlighted company initiatives including the Cooperative’s $74 million fiber optic overbuild, all team-member customer service training, and the company’s continued commitment to the community.

“Exceeding our customers’ needs from a product and service standpoint continues to be our primary focus,” said Miller. “As we look to the future, we anticipate continued growth and success fueled by our extraordinary South Slope team and by feedback provided by our Cooperative members.”

The Cooperative continues to experience increased membership as customers take advantage of Rocket Internet and the expanding fiber optic network. Homes and businesses in Ely, Fairfax, Newhall, North Liberty, Norway, Swisher, and Walford may contact South Slope for a free fiber optic conversion. Fiber optic construction has begun in Amana and Homestead. Residents and businesses in those areas will be contacted for individual fiber optic conversions beginning in August.

South Slope’s annual financials and operating report were reviewed by Joe Gerot, Managing Partner of Kieslings and Associates, an auditing firm from Des Moines, Iowa. The Cooperative had a positive net margin of $846,802 which will be reinvested into equipment for the company’s continued fiber optic expansion. 

Notice of Annual Meeting of South Slope Cooperative Telephone Company

You are hereby notified that the Annual Meeting of the members of South Slope Cooperative Telephone Company will be held in the Community Center at South Slope, 980 North Front St., North Liberty, Iowa on June 17, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. for the following purposes: 

  • To announce election results for the election of directors.
  • Review the financial report, annual audits, and consider any business properly brought before the meeting.

Voting on the election of directors is by mail ballot only, using the form of ballot provided by the Cooperative. The annual meeting of the Cooperative is open to voting members of the Cooperative only.

South Slope to Upgrade Amana and Homestead with Fiber Optic Technology

Amana, IA (May 21, 2015) - South Slope is preparing to install fiber optics in homes and businesses in Amana and Homestead. Fiber optic technology is the most advanced available and will replace copper telephone wire at no cost to homeowners or businesses. With fiber optics, South Slope customers can look forward to a secure and reliable internet connection, increased bandwidth for faster internet speeds, and extraordinarily clear television and telephone service.

In June, South Slope contractors will began construction and in August crews will arrive to splice the fiber optics. At that time, homeowners and businesses will begin receiving postcards inviting them to make an appointment to convert to fiber optics. In addition, South Slope will send crews back out to make sure all yard cleanup is satisfactory.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the fiber conversion process further, please call South Slope at 319-626-2211 and ask for Mark Ditch. Learn more about the benefits of fiber optics at www.southslope.com/fiber.

Free, family-friendly fun at Blues & BBQ is coming Saturday to North Liberty

North Liberty, IA - (July 7, 2014) - Everyone is invited to enjoy live blues music, kids’ activities, barbecue, craft beer, fireworks and more at North Liberty Blues & BBQ on Saturday, July 12, from noon until 10 p.m. at North Liberty's Centennial Park. Admission and activities are free.

The eighth-annual festival, presented by South Slope Cooperative Communications, will be held rain or shine. Guests will find free parking for cars and bicycles in Centennial Park, located at 1565 St. Andrews Drive, just west of Jones Boulevard in North Liberty.

Live music begins at noon on The University of Iowa Community Credit Union main stage.  The legendary Hal Reed will play at 8 p.m. following musical guests The Curtis Hawkins Band, The FunkDaddies, Kevin Burt and The Sidewinders. Admission is free and open to all ages.

A diversity of free activities for kids of all ages are planned. Exciting inflatable rides, including obstacle courses, a giant slide, and other inflatable games, plus a petting zoo and fun with the North Liberty Fire Department will be available in the Rage Grafix Playing Ground. The brand-new Shive-Hattery Everyday Arts Pavilion will feature arts-inspired fun with the Iowa Children's Museum, STEAM Room Fab Lab, the UNESCO City of Literature and many others. Kids’ activities are scheduled from noon to 7 p.m.

The festival also features a variety of barbecue pit masters and styles, with 18 vendors serving mouth-watering barbecue and other delicious treats along Adam Schechinger State Farm food vendor alley from noon until at least dark. Guests can vote for their favorite in the Press-Citizen BBQ Cook Off People's Choice, with a judged contest held at 4:30.

Beers from the best Iowa craft brewers, including Backpocket, Confluence, Toppling Goliath, Sutliff Cider, Bent River, Millstream and Peace Tree, are available in the Veridian Credit Union beverage garden. There is no cover charge to the centrally located, all-ages garden.

The fun-filled day will end with a bang as the Eastern Iowa Airport fireworks display will be launched at 9:45 p.m. from the festival grounds.

For details and more information about North Liberty Blues & BBQ, visit northlibertyblues.org.

Volunteer spots are still available. To sign up, simply go to northlibertyblues.org/volunteer and select a job and time, and then check in at the MidWestOne Bank volunteer and information tent on Saturday.

South Slope Cooperative Communications Annual Meeting 

North Liberty, IA – (June 11, 2014) – Over 250 community members gathered for the South Slope Cooperative Communications Annual Meeting on June 11, 2014. As a cooperative, members of South Slope have the opportunity to run for the Board of Directors, serve on the Nominating Committee, and vote at the Annual Meeting. At this year’s Annual Meeting, members voted to reelect Brian Butz to the board to represent the Fairfax exchange. Butz is a resident of Walford and has served on the South Slope Board of Directors since 2005. Members also voted to elect Brad Meskimen to the board to represent the Norway/Ely exchange. Meskimen is a resident of Ely.

South Slope’s annual financials and operating report were reviewed by Joe Gerot, Managing Partner of Kieslings and Associates, an auditing firm from Des Moines, Iowa. Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO, discussed national competition, government regulation, and the need to increase efficiencies. Miller highlighted company initiatives including the Cooperative’s $60 million fiber optic overbuild, the future launch of 1GB residential internet service, and the company’s continued focus on innovation. He also spoke about the South Slope Cares volunteer program and emphasized an ongoing commitment to the community through grants, scholarships, and donations.

“While South Slope faces challenges such as industry regulation and competition, we remain dedicated to our members, employees, and to our community,” said Miller. “We look forward to an exciting year of product launches, company growth, and advancements in telecommunications services.”

The Cooperative continues to experience increased membership as customers take advantage of Rocket Internet and the expanding fiber optic network. In 2013 South Slope laid 213 miles of fiber optic cabling to homes and businesses in its exchanges. Homes and businesses in Ely, Fairfax, Newhall, North Liberty, Norway, and Walford may contact South Slope for a free fiber optic conversion.

Annual Meeting Agenda

The South Slope Cooperative Communications Annual Meeting will be hosted in the South Slope Community Center on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 for Cooperative members only. Doors will open at 1:00pm with the start of business at 2:00pm. The meeting agenda may be accessed by clicking here and an abstract copy of the minutes from 2013 may be found here.

South Slope Cooperative Communications Announces Annual Meeting

North Liberty, IA – (April 30, 2014) – The South Slope Cooperative Communications Annual Meeting will be hosted in the South Slope Community Center on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 for Cooperative members only. Doors will open at 1:00pm with the start of business at 2:00pm. In recent years the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting has been held in April; a software change delayed the calculation of the company’s financial statement, resulting in the June meeting date.

At the Annual Meeting CEO Justyn M Miller will report on 2013 operations and discuss product development, continued fiber deployment efforts, internal culture, and employee relations. He will also highlight the company’s ongoing commitment to the community through grants, scholarships, donations, and volunteering. South Slope’s annual financials will be reviewed by a representative from an independent auditing firm.

“We look forward to sharing our successes from 2013 as well as giving our members better insight into some of the challenges we have experienced over the past year,” said Miller. “Our members play a vital role in our future and we welcome the opportunity to share our goals and objectives for 2014 with them.”

An official notice with details regarding the meeting and financial information will be sent to all Cooperative members at the end of May. There will be two grand prizes of $100.00 each, plus thirty other cash prizes awarded at the Annual Meeting. Pastries and beverages will be served to members immediately following the meeting. 

Member Notice - April 17, 2014

This notice is in response to a letter that was sent by the CWA 7101 on April 16, 2014 to South Slope members regarding the annual meeting. In the spirit of open communication the compnay would like to address the accusations in the letter.

The focus of the letter revolves around a lack of transparency and withholding information about the annual meeting. Simply put, we cannot give out information that we do not have. As a cooperative, we will share annual meeting information with our member base as a whole once it has been prepared; the information is not released for individual requests until after it has been announced to the entire member base, at that time we are happy to provide additional copies if needed.

The annual meeting date was not determined due to a software/billing conversion which delayed the completion of yearly financials until last month. During the last board meeting, the directors discussed June as a tentative date for the annual meeting, with the final details for the annual meeting to be approved this month. The bylaws state, “The annual meeting of the members shall be held during the first quarter of the calendar year, or at such other time as the Board of Directors shall determine.” It is not feasible to hold an annual meeting until financials are complete. The last two years the annual meeting has been held in the second quarter of the year, as it will be again this year. As in the past, a notice of the South Slope annual meeting followed by financial information and an annual meeting brochure will be mailed to all members. If you have any additional questions, please contact our office at 319-626-2211. 

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Media Advisory - March 17, 2014

We are pleased to announce that South Slope Cooperative Communications and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have reached a collective bargaining agreement, effective through September of 2015. Members of the Union voted on Saturday, March 15, to approve a contract that includes wage increases, added flexibility, increased job security, improved vacation time, and a fully funded pension.

We believe the contract contains concessions on behalf of both parties and shows our combined commitment to excellent customer service in a highly competitive telecommunications environment. Our mutual goal is to ensure South Slope's financial stability while continuing to offer quality jobs in our community. We remain focused on providing cutting edge telecommunications delivered with superior service to the Cooperative members.

Statement from Justyn M Miller, CEO

Changes to the contract made throughout the negotiation process were fair and promote a bright future for our employees and the Cooperative. Our efforts will allow for increased workplace efficiencies, improved customer care, and the financial viability of the Cooperative. The agreement benefits all parties and will allow us to continue working together to provide technology advancements for internet, television, and telephone services to the communities we serve. 

Please direct questions to community@southslope.com

Media Advisory - February 16, 2014

Statement from Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO

Since November, South Slope has met three times with union representatives and a federal mediator. South Slope representatives attended each meeting with an open mind and bargained in good faith at all times. Our goal is to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution that will keep the Cooperative competitive and allow us to provide the best possible service for years to come.

The Union filed several charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). We are pleased that the NLRB found several charges filed against South Slope by the CWA to be without merit and asked the Union to dismiss them. We look forward to sharing our perspective regarding the remaining claims. The NLRB has not filed a formal complaint or conducted a full hearing on whether South Slope is liable for any of the remaining claims. South Slope was granted an extension to respond to the claims until February 18 by the NLRB Field Examiner. If the NLRB proceeds with the next procedural step in the process, and files a formal complaint, we look forward to having a chance to have a full hearing on the disputed issues. The claims over events last fall have no bearing on current negotiations. We will continue to meet with union representatives at their convenience and work together to ensure the future viability of the Cooperative.

Please direct questions to community@southslope.com

Letter to South Slope Members - January 21, 2014

Dear Cooperative Member,

South Slope takes great pride in the level of service we provide our customers and our employees. In order to responsibly serve our members, employees, and the community, we must plan for future growth and consider our financial forecast. Propaganda published by outside union representatives, who do not represent our employees, contains false information that twists the truth in an effort to slander our local Cooperative. With this letter we would like to share our point of view and clear up some discrepancies.

Throughout the last several months we have negotiated in good faith with the Communications Workers of America Union who represent non-management employees at South Slope. Contrary to reports you may have seen, South Slope never proposed to lower hourly wages for current employees in their current positions. All employees, including management, the CEO, and the employees who are represented by the union received a one percent wage increase as approved by the Board of Directors. In addition, employees received added vacation based on years of service, an additional paid holiday, and a fully funded pension program.

South Slope proposed a second tier of pay for future employees based on a survey which recently compared telecommunications cooperatives nationally and in the state of Iowa. South Slope union members are generally in the top 10% wage scale, meaning their wages are higher than 90% of employees in similar positions around the state as shown here. In comparison, all management employees are close to or below the seventy-fifth percent level in wages. South Slope specifically wrote pay protection into our union contract to ensure existing employees would not have a reduction in pay. Only new employees or those who bid to a lower paying position (e.g. janitorial position) would receive lower wages in the new tier. The addition of a second wage tier addresses our competitive industry and keeps South Slope viable in the future. 

South Slope is committed to negotiating fairly and equitably with the union. We have not received communication or specific suggestions from the union on the contract since November 8, 2013. Changes to the union contract ensure our Cooperative’s financial stability and allow us to offer cutting edge technology at competitive prices with superior service. South Slope is supported by the members we serve; we do not have outside investors of any kind. Our local Board of Directors are members of the Cooperative just like you, and have the best interests of our members and employees in mind.  We appreciate your understanding and your business. We invite you to visit southslope.com/newsroom for the latest information on South Slope.  

Sincerely, 

Michael Schanz, Board President, on behalf of the South Slope Board of Directors

Justyn M Miller, CEO

Please click here to see a PDF copy of the letter that includes two charts.

Letter from CEO to All Staff - January 10, 2014

Good afternoon,

Throughout the labor contract discussions management has made every effort to communicate with all employees openly and honestly. To continue this effort, I would like to take the opportunity to reach out to you to clear up a few stories, specifically those included in the attached opinion piece published today in the Gazette.

From the beginning South Slope has negotiated in good faith. We met with union representatives when requested and at their convenience - both before and after the expiration of the contract. We approached each meeting with an open mind and a commitment to a mutually satisfactory resolution.

  • Monday - Oct 28:  Representatives of South Slope and CWA met in the presence of a federal mediator. No future in-person meetings were scheduled; South Slope made a final offer.
  • Thursday - Oct 31:  CWA contract expired at midnight without a vote.
  • Friday - Nov 1:  Without a vote from the CWA membership on the proposed final contract, management decided not to allow workers into the office.
  • Sunday - Nov 3:  CWA membership voted down proposed offer. Management implemented final offer and lifted lockout.
  • Monday - Nov 4:  Employees represented by the union returned to work.

When considering changes to the contract we looked at our Cooperative's financial viability in our highly regulated and competitive telecommunications environment. We proposed a second tier of pay for future employees to address the fact that our current employees exceed the average wage and benefits for the same position at similar companies. South Slope specifically wrote pay protection into our offer to ensure existing employees would not be affected by this change, unless they chose to bid into a lower paying position. Despite our competitive landscape, South Slope has never proposed a reduction in hourly pay for current employees in their current job. In fact, all employees throughout the company received a 1% increase, including myself.

I would also like to correct misconceptions and untruths leveled about me personally. The numbers and supposed pay increases printed in today's article misrepresent my salary by including our benefit costs as “pay increases and additional compensation.”  I do not set my own salary, and my wages and benefits follow the same NTCA guide as everyone else at South Slope.  I believe this was simply a personal attack to muddy the waters.

Over the last two years we have worked as a team under our mission, vision, and ASPIRE values. Our employee engagement efforts have led to substantial improvements to our culture, most notably increasing efficiencies, reward and recognition, and communication. While negotiations may have dampened your spirits, I am optimistic that we will continue to strengthen our internal relationships and our Cooperative.

When you hear things that don't seem quite right, remember the progress we have made internally to communicate openly with all employees. Our goal has always been to improve South Slope and keep it competitive. The rumors and false accusations only destroy what so many have worked to build and serve as distractions that keep us from moving forward. Let's not lose focus on the time and effort we have all put into changing our culture for the positive and making South Slope a great place to work.

Thanks, 

Justyn Miller

South Slope, CEO

Media Advisory - November 8, 2013 

Statement from Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO

South Slope and the Communications Workers of America representing bargaining unit employees returned to the table on Friday, November 8. Employees have been working under South Slope’s Final Offer since November 4, which included a one percent wage increase for all employees in addition to added vacation based on years of service, an additional holiday, and the option to opt into a new uniform program. South Slope never proposed a reduction in hourly wages for current employees in their current positions. In discussions today, the company more adequately defined its stance on pay protection for current employees represented by the union. The current proposal includes a second tier of hourly pay in select positions to address our competitive industry and regulated telecommunications environment. Changes to the union contract ensure our cooperative’s financial viability and allow us to offer cutting edge technology at competitive prices. We believe that we will reach a fair and equitable agreement for everyone.

Media Advisory - November 3, 2013 

Statement from Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO

We are pleased that our employees represented by the union will be joining us at work on Monday. Although South Slope’s proposal was not approved, we will implement our Final Offer and continue to negotiate in good faith with our union representatives. Contrary to previous reports, South Slope never proposed to lower the hourly wages for current employees in their current positions. We believe the proposed changes to the contract address our competitive industry and regulated telecommunications environment. Our cooperative members are our primary focus and we will continue to provide excellent service.  

Blues & BBQ and South Slope announce partnership, new 2014 location and date

North Liberty, Iowa, October 15, 2013 — North Liberty Blues & BBQ announced South Slope Cooperative Communications will partner to present North Liberty’s annual premiere family event in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“We’re excited to support such a great community event,” said Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO. “South Slope values the communities we serve, and we work hard to give back to our members through sponsorships, donations and volunteerism at events, such as Blues & BBQ.”

The annual daylong event features live blues music, free children’s rides and activities, local craft brews, mouthwatering barbecue and a fireworks finale. Every year, it attracts thousands of families from North Liberty and across Iowa. Beginning in 2014, the event will move on the calendar to July 12, the second Saturday in July, where organizers expect more predictable weather. The event will also shift locations to North Liberty’s new Centennial Park, 1565 St. Andrews Dr., between Jones Boulevard and Kansas Avenue.

“North Liberty Blues & BBQ has always been about highlighting wonderful things in North Liberty, and South Slope, a member of our supportive local business community, is a great example,” said Ryan Heiar, North Liberty’s city administrator. “We’re very happy to have South Slope’s support for Blues & BBQ in the years to come.”

North Liberty Blues & BBQ thanks South Slope Cooperative Communications, the University of Iowa Community Credit Union, Press-Citizen Media, Shive-Hattery, and the City of North Liberty for their support.

For more information about North Liberty Blues & BBQ, visit northlibertyblues.org.

Iowa High School Football “Player of the Week”

West Des Moines, IA (October 3, 2013) – Iowa Network Services, Inc. (INS) and South Slope Cooperative Communications are proud to present the September 26-October 2, 2013, Iowa High School “Player of the Week” winner:

Class 3A: Jacob Black, Solon - The senior quarterback carried the ball 26 times for 307 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over Central DeWitt. Black averaged nearly 12 yards per carry and on defense recorded five tackles.

In 2007 INS and Independent Telecommunications Companies, like South Slope, partnered to honor Iowa’s high school athletes, establishing the “Player of the Week” Program. Honorees are nominated by athletic directors, coaches, or sports reporters throughout Iowa and are selected based on athletic performance and overall sportsmanship.

Weekly nominations may be sent to INSPlayeroftheWeek@RadioIowa.com and must be received by 5:00 pm each Monday to be eligible for consideration. Weekly statistics for the player must be included with the submission. All nominations will be reviewed and selected based on class division.

North Liberty and South Slope Recognized with Collaborative Award

North Liberty, IA  (November 12, 2012) – The City of North Liberty and South Slope Cooperative Communications were recognized by Viodi for their promotion of community, economic development, and collaboration on local content at a conference on October 28, 2012.

"Viodi has been working on a nationwide basis with rural telecom operators who produce or want to produce locally created content for the past decade and have found that this effort helps build community," said Ken Pyle, Managing Editor of the Viodi View and Producer of ViodiTV. "The working relationship between South Slope and the City of North Liberty is an example for the rest of the country of an outstanding partnership that helps the community by leveraging the strengths of two different, but complementary organizations."

South Slope broadcasts the City of North Liberty's signal for their PEG (Public, Education, and Government) television channel to North Liberty and other local communities. The channel, NL TV, airs city council meetings, local school events and board meetings, exercise programs, cooking segments, chamber gatherings, and more.

"South Slope is a great partner and has helped us become a more business friendly community by offering the newest and best technologies," said City Administrator, Ryan Heiar. "We are grateful for the relationship we have with South Slope and look forward to continuing to work with them to make North Liberty an outstanding place to live and work."

South Slope also provides the city with streaming-video bandwidth via its Business Rocket Internet. This keeps community members informed by allowing NL TV programming to be accessed live, twenty four hours a day at www.northlibertyiowa.org.

The ability for the city to upload NL TV content seamlessly and allow residents access to programming is a benefit of South Slope's fiber optic network. North Liberty is part of South Slope's $70 million fiber optic network deployment allowing businesses and residents a connection to the latest communication technology.

"Our Fiber to the Home project benefits local residents and businesses alike by allowing them an ultra-fast Internet connection with access to online content such as NL TV," said Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO. "We are proud to receive this award with the City of North Liberty and we look forward to our continued partnership."

Score! South Slope adds NFL RedZone in HD

NORTH LIBERTY, IA (September 17, 2012) – South Slope has launched the NFL RedZone channel this football season for residential and business customers. NFL RedZone kicks off on South Slope channel 942 (HD).

"South Slope looks forward to being your ticket for football programming. As the excitement plays out each Sunday on NFL RedZone, you can count on South Slope to deliver a quality HD picture and sound," said Justyn M Miller, South Slope Cooperative CEO. "We continue our commitment to offer more HD programming and hope customers enjoy this new channel."

NFL RedZone, produced by NFL Network, whips around every NFL game on Sunday afternoons delivering the touchdowns and most exciting moments as they happen and in high definition. When a team goes inside the 20-yard line, NFL RedZone takes fans there. The channel keeps fans up-to-date in real time, switching from game to game with live look-ins, highlights, and a chance to see every important play.

Phone Discounts Available to South Slope Customers

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (August 5, 2012) – South Slope Cooperative Communications is an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier within its service area, providing services supported by the federal Universal Service Program. South Slope's single line, local residential phone service is provided at $16.00 plus $6.50 Federal Subscriber Line Charge per month. This basic local service option includes voice grade access to the public switched telecommunications network, dual-tone multi-frequency switching (or its digital equivalent), access to emergency services, access to operator services, access to interexchange service, and access to directory assistance.

South Slope is also a mobile telecommunications provider offering basic and enhanced communications services within the iWireless service area. Wireless calling plans include pay in advance plans with calling features and functions similar to single line, local residential phone service. The "MEGAtalk" pay in advance plan offers an equivalent service, including unlimited nationwide calling for $35.00 plus taxes and fees, in 30 day increments.

Single line, local residential service (or its wireless equivalent) is a Lifeline-eligible service. Lifeline is a government benefit program which provides a monthly credit toward a qualified low-income subscriber's telephone bill. Only eligible low-income consumers may enroll in the Lifeline program. Consumers who meet eligibility criteria must also complete documentation necessary for enrollment. Lifeline assistance is non-transferable, and eligible subscribers may receive assistance from only one wireline or wireless telecommunications provider per household. Consumers who willfully make false statements in order to obtain the benefit can be punished by fine or imprisonment or can be barred from the program.

If you live in a South Slope service area, visit www.southslope.com or call 319-626-2211 with questions or to request a Lifeline application.

South Slope Rocket Internet Launches Residents to Fastest Speeds in Iowa

NORTH LIBERTY, IA (July 2, 2012) – South Slope Cooperative Communications has launched new high speed Rocket Internet plans for residential customers boasting speeds of up to 220 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up.

The North Liberty-based company has five new residential plans ranging from 10 Mbps down to 220 Mbps down. South Slope is offering free installation and activation through the end of September with contract plans. Rocket Internet plans also allow customers to choose their upload speed through their new boost program. Upload speed boosts range from 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps.

"The ability to customize upload speed is unique to South Slope. It allows our customers the flexibility to increase upload speed month-to-month," said Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO. "If you upload large HD movies to YouTube, telecommute for work to share large files, or add vacation photos to Facebook, an upload speed boost will help you complete your task faster."

The new Rocket Internet plans achieve South Slope's mission to provide the fastest residential Internet speeds in the state through their fiber optic network. South Slope is in the process of a five year fiber build in North Liberty, Swisher, Fairfax, Walford, Norway, Newhall, and Ely.

South Slope's network provides a dedicated fiber line to each household or business within their exchange. This ensures customers receive the maximum speeds available, which allows them to use bandwidth intense applications such as movie and music downloads, high definition and real time video conferencing, and online data backup.

"The dedicated fiber connection is an advantage only South Slope can offer to our area. Customers on Rocket Internet can expect shorter download time, greater reliability with concurrent online applications, and local twenty-four hour service they can count on," said Miller.

South Slope Launches New Business Internet Speeds up to 225 Mbps

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (July 2, 2012) – South Slope Cooperative Communications has launched new business Rocket Internet plans with speeds of up to 225 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up.

"To address the growing demand for bandwidth and to thank our customers for choosing South Slope, we are upgrading current qualifying business customers to higher speeds at no additional cost," said Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO. "We are also launching two entirely new plans with speeds of 115 Mbps down and 225 Mbps down."

The North Liberty-based company has six new business plans ranging from 5 Mbps down to 225 Mbps down. South Slope is in the process of a five year fiber build in North Liberty, Swisher, Fairfax, Walford, Norway, Newhall, and Ely. The fiber network will allow customers to use bandwidth intense applications such as movie and music downloads, high definition and real time video conferencing, and online data backup.

"Our new Rocket Internet plans address the diverse bandwidth requirements of businesses in the Corridor. We are committed to the communities, businesses, and residents in our exchanges and will continue to prove ourselves as a leader in the broadband initiative," said Miller.

In addition to South Slope's new Rocket Internet, the company has also added two full time business sales representatives. Julie Kunkel and Frank Mason joined the South Slope team to serve as a dedicated point of contact and to manage the ongoing needs of the company's business customers.

South Slope Installs Fiber Technology in Fairfax

FAIRFAX, Iowa (March 16, 2012) – South Slope Cooperative Communications is bringing fiber to the homes and businesses in Fairfax town and rural areas. This technology is the most advanced available and will replace copper telephone wire. Fiber expansion is part of South Slope’s on-going commitment to provide residents and businesses the most up-to-date way to stay connected. Fiber compliments services today by adding faster Internet speeds and more advanced digital television products.

“Beyond the ability to live a connected lifestyle, fiber will allow for the development and deployment of new internet applications for years to come,” said Justyn M Miller, South Slope CEO. “Fiber is prepared to handle new phone, television, and internet applications; keeping you on the cutting edge of business, education, and entertainment.”

During construction, fiber will be installed from the utility right-of-way to your home or business. South Slope will bury the fiber line with minimum disruption to your lawn. If any yard damage occurs, South Slope’s independent contractors are responsible for reasonable repair. Each subscriber on South Slope fiber will have their own dedicated connection for consistently high speeds at all times.

The construction of the new fiber service line does not require or obligate you to take telecommunications services from South Slope. The crews will bury fiber to your premise while in your area at absolutely no cost to you. If you decide not to bury a service line now, there may be a charge for them to return at a later time. Please visit www.southslope.com/about-us/fiber and complete the Fiber Permission Slip to take advantage of this opportunity.

Bob Gorton, a South Slope Independent Contractor, has begun meeting with Fairfax residents. Bob will discuss with property owners where the Fiber To The Premise service line will be placed on their property and review any potential issues. He may also need to enter your home or place of business to identify where to place the Network Interface Device (NID). Bob can be identified by his South Slope name badge, company vehicle, and business card. If you are not at home when he stops by, he will place a door hanger on your door with his contact information; please call Bob at your convenience.

Once construction is completed, the fiber service will be available in Fairfax. If you would have any questions in regard to the service packages offered for fiber internet and television products, call South Slope at 319-626-2211. If you should have any further questions about the fiber construction process, contact Don Volz or Mark Ditch at 319-626-2211.

South Slope offers new high speed Internet service for businesses

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (January 13, 2012) - South Slope Cooperative Communications on Friday announced the launch of a new 55/5 Internet service for business that promises 55 megabit-per-second download speed and 5 Mbps upload speed.South Slope is installing fiber optic cable in North Liberty, Swisher, Fairfax, Walford, Norway, Newhall, and Ely. The fiber network, built out over a five-year period, will allow customers to use bandwidth intense applications such as movie and music downloads, high definition and real time video conferencing, and online data backup.South Slope, in a statement announcing the new service, said it follows the company's mission to provide the fastest mass market internet speeds in the area through its fiber network

"Businesses on South Slope's 55/5 Mbps plan can expect shorter download time, faster upload time, and greater reliability with concurrent online applications," said Sean Maher, South Slope business sales associate. He said each subscriber will have their own dedicated fiber to their place of business, so they won't have to share their speed with neighbors.

New High Speed Internet Network

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (December 19, 2011) - South Slope is in the process of migrating internet customers to our new high speed network that includes full failover protection. The migration process has been accelerated and should be completed in the next two weeks. This migration will occur during several maintenance windows from 1:00am to 4:30am. Benefits of the new network include a new edge router with fully redundant interfaces, an upgradeable 400Gb optical internal network, and new multi-homed redundant 10Gb external connections to our upstream provider.

Customers with Static IP assignments can expedite the migration process to the new high speed network by contacting our office at 319-626-2211, Monday through Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm.

Foundation for Rural Service Grant Program

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (October 31,2011) - The application deadline for the new FRS Grant Program is coming up soon on Tuesday, November 15. The goal of this new program is to support local efforts to build and sustain a high quality of life in rural America. Grants will be concentrated in four major areas: business development, community development, education, and telecommunications. Each grant will range from $250 up to $5,000 to go back into rural communities. Download a copy of the application here.

South Slope Adopt-a-Highway Project

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (October 11,2011) - South Slope participated in their Adopt-a-Highway community service project on Tuesday, October 11, 2011. This clean up project is a two mile stretch along Highway 6 between milepost 234 and 236. It is part of commitment to keeping our community clean and Iowa beautiful!

An average of 1,274 groups participate in Iowa's Adopt-a-Highway program each year. These groups help keep approximately 32 percent of the state's roadways litter-free. In 2011, volunteers collected approximately 512 cubic yards of litter, in addition to the 3,573 cubic yards collected by state workers (www.iowadot.gov).

To see photos of the community service project, please visit our Facebook album

South Slope Cooperative to Carry MLB Network

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (September 7, 2011) - South Slope Cooperative announced today it will carry MLB Network, the 24-hour television home for baseball, covering all of baseball year-round. South Slope Cooperative will offer MLB Network on channel 43 and HD channel 443.

"South Slope looks forward to being your ticket for baseball and sports programming. We pride ourselves on our commitment to invest in our products and the communities we serve. We hope customers enjoy this exciting, new addition to their programming lineup," said Justyn M Miller, South Slope Cooperative, CEO.

MLB Network launched in 50 million cable and satellite homes on January 1, 2009 as the largest debut in cable television history and is currently available in 65 million homes. With live games, original programming, highlights, classic games, and coverage of baseball events, MLB Network is the ultimate television destination for baseball fans.

"We are looking forward to launching MLB Network in HD on South Slope," said Tony Petitti, President and Chief Executive Officer, MLB Network. "MLB Network offers comprehensive coverage, access and an insider's perspective on the sport that has never been seen before. This partnership helps us expand our reach and accomplish our goal of bringing MLB Network to as many fans as possible."

South Slope to Upgrade Homes with Fiber Optic Technology 

WALFORD, Iowa (August 25, 2011) - South Slope is preparing to install Fiber to the Home (FTTH) in Walford. The fiber optic technology is the most advanced available and will replace yesterday's copper telephone wire at no cost to you. With fiber to the home, you can look forward to a secure and reliable internet connection, increased bandwidth for faster internet speeds, and extraordinarily clear phone service.

On August 23, 2011, South Slope contractors began installing conduit which they will later feed fiber optic cables through. South Slope predicts it will take approximately six weeks to install conduit throughout the town. There is currently a shortage of fiber due to the earthquake/tsunami in Japan. South Slope hopes to have fiber in stock and begin pulling it through the conduit by late October. Shortly thereafter, crews will arrive to splice the fiber and appointments will be made to convert homes and businesses to fiber during the winter months. Finally, Slope will send crews back out in early spring to make sure all yard cleanup is satisfactory.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the fiber conversion process further, please call South Slope at 319-626-2211 and ask for Mark Ditch.

Need Help Paying your Phone Bill?

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (August 17, 2011) – South Slope Cooperative Telephone Company is a telecommunications provider who provides basic and enhanced services within its service territory. Basic services are offered at the following rates and charges:

Monthly Service Charges:

  • Single party, voice grade residential service, including local usage $16.00

  • Federal Subscriber Line Charge – Single Line $6.50

  • Touch Tone Service is provided as part of the local service rate.

Customers have access to long distance, directory assistance, and operator service providers of their choice, at rates established by those carriers.

Toll Blocking is available at no charge for low income customers that qualify. Emergency 911 Services are provided and a surcharge is assessed at governmental rates.

South Slope Cooperative Telephone Company is also a mobile telecommunications service provider that provides basic and enhanced communications services within the iWireless service area. The "MEGAtalk" pay in advance plan offers unlimited local calling for $39.00 plus taxes and fees, in 30 day increments. 911 emergency services are included. Customers have access to long distance, nationwide roaming and directory assistance at additional costs.

Low income individuals may be eligible for Lifeline and Link-Up telephone assistance programs which provide discounts for basic local service charges through specified governmental programs. Applications for Lifeline and Link-Up are available on line at www.southslope.com.

If you have any questions regarding the company's services or you want to apply for low income telephone assistance, application forms can be obtained from the South Slope Business Office located at 980 North Front St., North Liberty, IA. or by calling 319-626-2211.

Justyn M Miller Named South Slope Cooperative CEO 

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (May 1, 2011) – After two years serving as General Manager at South Slope, Justyn M. Miller was recently elected CEO by the Board of Directors.

Before moving to the North Liberty area, Justyn served as the CEO/General Manager of Kalona Cooperative Telephone Company. He has hands-on experience in rural communications services, including traditional telecommunications services, wireless deployment, Internet operations and administration, business planning, sales and marketing operations, and billing.

Justyn has an active leadership role at local and state levels, and currently serves on the Board of Directors at Iowa Network Services (INS)  and Iowa Telecommunications Association. He is a previous member of the Homeland Security Task Force on Communications Interoperability and has served on the United States Telecommunications Association (USTA) Board of Directors.

Justyn was an active community leader in Kalona and he looks forward to becoming more involved in the South Slope servicing areas. Just recently, he has been a part of the fundraising committee for the North Liberty Library Expansion Plan.

"With the great customers and staff we have at South Slope, our future continues to look bright! We are dedicated to sharing our mission to deliver state of the art communication tools to our cooperative members. We work in a highly competitive marketplace and understand the need for differentiation through quality products and superior service. We remain committed to our fiber to the home expansion project, building out the remainder of North Liberty and continuing to Walford and Fairfax yet this year. This is an exciting time to be at South Slope."

Justyn has been married to Angela since 1997 and they have two sons, Maxximus and Michael. He enjoys spending time with his family and outdoor activities.

South Slope Wireless and Iowa Wireless Expand Coverage Area

Over the past year South Slope has added towers through-out its exchanges to provide clear digital wireless service to its members. South Slope Wireless being part of the ownership family of Iowa Wireless now offers coverage to a majority of east central Iowa and parts of Illinois as local calling area when using our wireless service. In addition, VoiceStream Networks (a partner in the Iowa Wireless venture) has expanded its coverage area to allow roaming in over 5000 cities across the country. Our Digital PCS is GSM technology and will be able to be used through-out the world once the system is all built out.

South Slope members receive special benefits when they purchase their South Slope / Iowa Wireless Service from one of our South Slope offices. Check out the savings for being a member of your local Cooperative Telephone Company.