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PC: Roberto Caucino

What’s Inside We’ve all received (and thrown away) plenty of newsletters filled with advertisements and generic cookie-cutter stories that have nothing to do with us. This isn’t one of those newsletters. InterBel Happenings has been carefully crafted to bring you the information you need and the stories you want to read. We will keep you in the loop with news and updates from our cooperative, celebrate the businesses and individuals doing good work in our community, and answer all of your burning tech questions with Tech Tips. Here’s what you’ll find in our first edition:



I couldn’t have predicted that in 2020, a global pandemic would upend our lives, forcing many of us to work from home, cancel gatherings and events, and isolate from our family and friends. It has been a difficult year for all of us, yet through it all, our team has worked day in and day out to continue bringing you the best Internet and voice services possible.



KOOCANUSA BREWERY. When Barry Roose purchased 85 acres of land just outside of Eureka, he had no idea what the land—and the old metal building that occupied it— would become. Then his cousin came up with an idea.


Ahh, the good old days: when

There may be some truth

you’d listen through the door

to the saying that “all I really

of dad’s home office and wait

need to know, I learned in

for the exact moment the

kindergarten.” From a young

phone clicked back into its base.

age, we are taught that sharing

With the telephone line finally

is caring, that teamwork makes

available you’d run to the family

the dream work, and that we

computer, throw yourself into the

should always leave a place

rolling chair, and sit through the

better than we found it.

obnoxious dial-up noise—all to send one AOL Instant Message to your friend down the street.


A Message from the General Manager by JASON MOOTHART When I joined InterBel in September 2018, I never could have imagined what my first two and a half years with the cooperative would hold. I couldn’t have predicted that in 2020, a global pandemic would upend

In order to meet this ever-increasing demand, we launched a project in

our lives, forcing many of us to work from home, cancel gatherings and

September 2020 to equip the entire town of Eureka with fiber. We have

events, and isolate from our family and friends. It has been a difficult

already passed approximately 130 homes and businesses, thanks in

year for all of us, yet through it all, our team has worked day in and

large part to the mild weather we experienced in December and January,

day out to continue bringing you the best Internet and voice services

and will continue to build out through the spring and summer. This


new fiber network, which will be completed in 2022, will be faster, more reliable, and more scalable than the existing copper network!

The increased number of our community members relying on their home Internet connection to work, play, and connect with one another

The pandemic has also changed the way we communicate with you.

during this time has resulted in unprecedented strain on our network,

One essential principle of a cooperative is member participation, and in

with traffic nearing one petabyte—or one million gigabytes—per month.

order to actively participate in setting policies and making decisions for

In the months leading up to the pandemic, our network traffic was

our cooperative, our members must be aware of the work we are doing

roughly two-thirds that size.

to improve and expand our services. Traditionally, our Annual Meeting would be our one opportunity to speak directly with our membership— but after COVID-19 forced us to cancel our 2020 meeting, we sought new ways to get that information in your hands (literally). That’s why we’ve launched InterBel Happenings, a quarterly newsletter where we will share updates from our cooperative along with inspiring stories from our community. I am excited to share this first edition with you. So much has changed in the years since I joined InterBel, yet one thing remains the same. From day one, my number one priority has been and always will be you—our members. I hope that this newsletter is just the beginning of more communication between our team and our community. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns as we continue navigating this unpredictable time together.

Jason Moothart Jason Moothart General Manager, InterBel

“InterBel’s service allows us to provide our customers reliable high-speed Internet access, the likes of which you can’t find too many places in the country.” -Barry Roose


Koocanusa Brewery There are a few common reasons someone may choose to start their own business. For some, it’s to fill a need in their community; for others, it’s to carry on a legacy. For Barry Roose, inspiration to open Koocanusa Brewery came from a very different source. “Insanity,” Barry claimed. When Barry purchased 85 acres of land just outside of Eureka, he had no idea what the land—and the old metal building that occupied it—would become. Then his cousin came up with an idea. “I was asking him, ‘What do you think I

should do with the building’”? Barry recalled. “He said, ‘Oh, start a brewery.’ I said, ‘What? I don’t know how to brew beer.’ He said, ‘Do it. People will come, and you’ll have a fun time.’ So, we did.”

Against All Odds As a retired project manager who didn’t know the first thing about operating a brewery, learning how to brew beer was only the first hurdle that Barry had to jump

in his journey to owning a business. The property that Barry acquired had formerly been occupied by three different sawmills. In 1973, when the final sawmill ceased operations, all of the buildings, concrete, and residual trim logs were bulldozed into the wetlands. As a fourthgeneration Eurekan, Barry was disturbed by the lasting effects this demolition had on the land and the creek that runs through it. “Our wetlands are the kidney of our

watersheds. They work to filter and purify the water, and our water that runs through there had lessened dramatically—that’s why it is called Mud Creek,” Barry said. “When the Creek was in this condition, the wetland was impaired from working as it should. My family, friends, and neighbors live downstream from there and I felt it very, very, very important to be a contributing part to good water.” Over the course of four years, with support from local and national organizations like the Lincoln Conservation District, the US Natural Resource Conservation District, Kootenai River Network, and contractor River Design Group, Barry was able to remove more than 68,000 pounds of steel and restore a portion of Mud Creek to its original, pristine condition.

Even the most established businesses have struggled to stay afloat throughout the pandemic, especially in the food and drink industry. It would have been all-too easy for a brewery that had hardly had the chance to open before the virus hit to close its doors for good,

With the land and water quality revived, Barry could finally move on to permitting and opening his brewery. He submitted his application to the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau in January 2019. Then, the federal government shut down, delaying his application for 100 days. “We had hoped to be open in the summer of 2019, but because of the federal shutdown, we were postponed until final approval in October of 2019,” Barry said. “Then I had to brew beer and get inventory built up to open.” The delays didn’t deter Barry. On December 14th, 2019, all of the hard work and patience finally paid off as Koocanusa Brewery opened to the public. With open arms, pizza, and six beers on tap, Barry and his partner Vicki welcomed the community of Eureka into the business they’d fought so hard to build. Then, Koocanusa Brewery was faced with its greatest hurdle yet: the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were open 60 days and then we had to close for 60 days,” Barry said. “Then we ran the rest of the year at either 50 or 75 percent occupancy.”

but thanks to a supportive community of customers and Barry’s trademark optimism, Koocanusa has prevailed. “The challenges have been wide and deep, but for the most part, I would just say that entrepreneurial activities come with risks,” Barry said. “When you accept the risk of doing something, you just do it and you don’t worry about the costs. You get up, you go to work, you adapt to change, you do everything you can to make it work. And at the end of the day, you celebrate small successes and build on them. For Barry, success isn’t measured in the number of barrels he produces or the dollars he brings in every night; it’s measured in the relationships he builds with the people he serves. “That’s why I do this, because of the people that I get to see and the enjoyment they get from our product,” Barry said. “Being a fourth generation Eurekan and intimately familiar with the area, I love when people come in and say, ‘Well, gee, where can we go hiking, fishing, camping, skiing, waterskiing, tubing?’ Those conversations and being able to share my knowledge with them, that’s probably the most fun part.”

Continued on next page

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Good Beer and Great People Barry Roose has overcome countless challenges to get to where he is today: owning a microbrewery that’s popular with locals and tourists alike, located on land that he has worked tirelessly to preserve. But through it all, there’s one thing he says he has never had to worry about: his Internet connection. “InterBel has some incredible, powerful, wonderful fiber,” Barry said. “Fortunately we’re en route from Seattle to New York, not far off the main grid that runs East to West. So we have tremendously quick response times on the Internet. That infrastructure that InterBel provides is a critical tool for any developing area like ours.” At Koocanusa, a reliable Internet connection is about more than just processing credit card transactions in a timely manner. Due to the building’s metal walls, customers are unable to access cellular data at the brewery. Instead, they can sign on and enjoy the high speeds of Koocanusa’s Internet connection. Barry says this is a major draw for many customers, whether they want to watch the Super Bowl or work remotely while enjoying a pint. “InterBel’s service allows us to provide our customers reliable highspeed Internet access, the likes of which you can’t find too many places in the country,” Barry said.

Starting a business is never easy, and Barry has overcome more obstacles than most. But with high-speed Internet from InterBel, and maybe a little bit of insanity, Barry has built a business that he and his customers can enjoy for many years to come. “We’ve got great beer, a warm atmosphere, and a country setting. We’re unique, eclectic, funkadelic,” Barry said. “And you know, we’re just a couple local people that enjoy serving and enjoy your company and enjoy providing good beer.”

Koocanusa Brewery is located 5 miles south of Eureka, Montana, on US Highway 93. Stop by for a good beer and great conversation, and visit their website to learn more.

“That infrastructure that InterBel provides is a critical tool for any developing area like ours.” -Barry Roose


PACKAGES DSL High Speed Internet available through your existing copper phone services. With Speeds up to 20 Mbps - you can take care of your daily activities online such as web browsing or watching Netflix.

FIBER With Fiber service available to the majority of our rural members, InterBel High Speed Internet with Fiber will connect you at the speed of light. With packages up to 1 Gigabit, InterBel has you covered!

Sign up today at

Leave the Landline Behind With new Broadband Only packages, you’ll only pay for what you’ll use. Ahh, the good old days: when you’d listen through the door of dad’s home office and wait for the exact moment the phone clicked back into its base. With the telephone line finally available you’d run to the family computer, throw yourself into the rolling chair, and sit through the obnoxious dial-up noise—all to send one AOL Instant Message to your friend down the street. We’ve come a long way since then.

General Manager Jason Moothart.

Now dial-up has given way to

“If a family has three kids and

broadband, all of our messages

they’re all doing homework, they’re

are instantaneous, and more and

all streaming their classes online,

more households are forgoing

they may never use their landline

landline phones all together. That’s

but they are probably going to want

why, at InterBel, we’ve launched

to increase from 25 megabits to

Broadband-Only packages to meet


your modern needs. Since we launched this service Starting with our Fiber 100

in July 2019, more than 500 of

package, you can choose to pay

InterBel’s 3,600-plus members

for only what you need: high-

have already made the switch to

speed, reliable broadband. These

Broadband Only packages. And

packages are ideal for businesses

for many new members who

and households that require a lot

have recently relocated to our

of data, for multiple HD or 4K video

community, Broadband Only is a

streams, for example, but who do

natural choice.

not find themselves reaching for the landline anymore.

When Telly Stanger moved to the Eureka area from the Denver, CO

And starting at just 100 dollars for

metro last year, he was amazed to

100 Mbps, our Broadband Only packages

“It’s a great choice for people who

learn that the little town of under 2,000

are the most cost-effective we have to

consume a lot of content online, especially

people was in the midst of a fiber build-

offer—especially for customers suddenly

folks who are now working or have kids


in need of higher bandwidth.

doing school from home,” said InterBel

“I don’t know that people expect to see fiber-to-the-home in

since we moved in. As long as it works, I’m happy.”

communities like this,” Telly said. “There are major metropolitan areas that don’t have fiber-to-the-home. So coming to a rural

From dial-up to broadband, Instant Messenger to Instagram, the

community like this, where you go back five miles in the woods

technology we use to communicate is constantly evolving. Here

and there’s 10 houses and they all have fiber, that’s amazing.”

at InterBel, Broadband Only packages are just the next step in that evolution. And don’t worry—we understand that some folks

When Telly and his family moved into their new home in January 2020, fully equipped with fiber, they selected a Broadband Only plan right away. “It just fit the needs of our family. Like most people, we’ve gotten away from having a landline,”

“Coming to a rural community like this, where you go back five miles in the woods and there’s 10 houses and they all have fiber, that’s amazing.”

Telly said. “My wife and our kids all have our cell

-Telly Stanger

still rely on their landline, so we’re not getting rid of our phone service any time soon. It can be added on to any package, all the way up to Fiber Gig. “I liken it to this: there was a carburetor shop on every corner in every town until fuel injection happened,” Jason said. “Now there might be one carburetor shop in an entire town, but

phones, our home computer, our television, and that’s all through

it’s a specialty thing. Broadband may be taking over, but dial tone


phone service will still exist, and we will continue to serve those who choose to use it.”

But a brand-new fiber optic line is only worth it if it works. And for Telly, the speed speaks for itself. “We’ve had very few issues with our broadband. I don’t even think it’s buffered one time,” Telly said. “I haven’t run one speed test

Ready to leave your landline in the past? Call InterBel at 406-889-3311 or visit to sign up for a Broadband Only plan today.

Work Hard & Play Nice:

Understanding the Seven Cooperative Principles

There may be some truth to the saying that “all I really need to know, I learned in kindergarten.” From a young age, we are taught that sharing is caring, that teamwork makes the dream work, and that we should always leave a place better than we found it. Simple as they may seem, these childhood lessons are the same rules that guide the work we do every day here at InterBel. Cooperatives around the world operate according to the same set of core principles, adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance. With these principles, we are able to function differently from larger national corporations—providing higher quality services, keeping profits local, and helping our rural communities thrive.


Seven Principles of Cooperatives


Open and Voluntary Membership Membership in a cooperative is open to all people who are able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, regardless of race, religion, gender, or economic circumstances.

Democratic Member Control Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Individuals are elected by the membership to serve as directors or trustees and in return are accountable to them. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote); cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.


When you purchase services from InterBel, you aren’t just our customer. You are a member of our cooperative, with a voice in all major decisions.

Members’ Economic Participation Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital remains the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, setting up reserves, benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative, and supporting other activities approved by the membership. This principle is the reason InterBel is able to put thousands of dollars back into our community every year through scholarships, event sponsorships, and more.


Autonomy and Independence Cooperatives are autonomous organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control as well as their unique identity. Because we don’t answer to outside stakeholders, cooperatives like InterBel can focus on what really matters: providing the best possible service for our members at the fairest prices.


Education, Training, and Information In order to make informed decisions about the future of our cooperative and our community, it’s important for our members to be aware of the work that is going on behind the scenes—that’s why we’ve launched this newsletter! Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, CEOs, and employees to help them effectively contribute to the development of their cooperatives. They also inform the general public, particularly


young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

Cooperation Among Cooperatives By working together through local, national, regional and international structures, cooperatives improve services, bolster local economies, and deal more effectively with social and community needs. One powerful example of cooperative cooperation is the relationship between InterBel and Lincoln Electric Cooperative. For more than three decades, our two cooperatives operated jointly under one roof. It was not until 1993 that InterBel became an independent entity, and since then we have continued to find ways to collaborate with Lincoln Electric. We formed Eureka Rural Development Partners in 2002, which has paved the way for many significant projects and contributed millions of dollars in grants over the years. “We have so much in common with what we do, which is providing an essential service,” said Telly Stanger, General Manager of Lincoln Electric Cooperative. “I think that partnerships in a small community like this really goes a long way. We can call on each other when we need help with something. I think it builds that comradery and trust.”


Concern for Community And finally, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by the membership. While the language of these principles may seem formal, they really aren’t all that different from the simple lessons we learned in kindergarten. At the end of the day, it all comes down to sharing, teamwork, honesty, and making the world a better place—and really, what else do we need to know?

To learn more about the seven cooperative principles and the impact that they can have on our communities, visit

Tech Tips Whole Home Wi-fi

Your Friendly Neighbor Tech Experts, Katie and Riley

We’ve all been there—one minute you’re at home FaceTiming your best friend across the country, listening to your favorite podcast, or playing a game online, and suddenly everything stops. You’ve stepped into a WiFi dead zone, where the signal is slow, or worse, nonexistent. Every other room in the house gets a full signal, but for some reason, the WiFi doesn’t want to reach the one you’re in. The main answer to the problem of dead spots has been Wi-Fi range extenders, which plug into your wall and bounce your Wi-Fi signal only slightly farther than your router can, and at the expense of signal quality. But now, there’s a new kid in town: Whole Home Wi-Fi. Today, we’re going to explain what exactly Whole Home Wi-Fi is, and how you can make it work for your home. If you are more of a visual learner, watch our latest Tech Tip video to follow along with tech expert Riley. Let’s get started!

What Is It? Wi-Fi dead spots can be created by a number of obstacles in your home, including distance from your router and thick walls or doors. A Whole Home Wi-Fi system works with the design of your home, rather than against it, in order to bring you lightning-fast internet in every room. Whole Home Wi-Fi, or “Mesh Wi-Fi,” consists of a series of access points, often called nodes. One access point either replaces your traditional router or directly connects to it using an Ethernet cable, and then shares your signal with the other access points in its range. These nodes are strategically placed around your house and share the same SSID and password, creating a single, uninterrupted Wi-Fi network that covers your entire home.

How Does It Work? Luckily, Whole Home Wi-Fi systems are flexible, scalable, and easy to install. You can choose where to place each node, based on where your signal typically drops off. Whole Home Wi-Fi systems are often sold in sets of three nodes, which is enough access points for a typical home, but you can purchase additional nodes if and when you need them. Additionally, most mesh systems use a mobile app to make set-up a breeze. The app walks you through the set-up process, including where to place nodes for optimal coverage. These mobile apps also come with built-in features to help you manage your Wi-Fi, like parental controls, guest access, and more.

Not all Whole Home Wi-Fi systems are created equal, and it’s important to examine the technology that each brand uses. Give us a call today to find a Whole Home Wi-Fi system that’s right for you, and never step into a dead zone again. That’s it for this edition of Tech Tips! Check back soon for another tip to make your technology work for you.

New Year, New App, New You It’s that time of year again! The presents have been opened, the Christmas lights have been packed away, and New Year’s resolutions have been made...and probably forgotten. The failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is said to be about 80 percent, and most people lose their resolve by mid-February. But what if we told you that the key to keeping your resolutions was right at your fingertips? Whether you want to exercise more, break a bad habit, or balance your budget, today, we are going to share five apps that will help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions (and FYI, we are not paid by or affiliated with these apps in any way). If you are more of a visual learner, watch our latest Tech Tip video to follow along with tech expert Riley. Let’s get started.

Resolution: Get In Shape App: FitOn

One of the most common resolutions is to “get in shape.” If that’s on your list, then FitOn is the app for you. FitOn offers free workouts that you can do at home, at the gym, or outside. And with courses as short as five minutes, FitOn makes it easy to fit exercise into your busy schedule. Continued on next page

Resolution: Save Money App: Mint

If you’ve decided that 2021 is the year that you’re finally going to start a real budget (no, saving the change in your couch cushions to buy pizza does not count), Mint may be your new best friend. Just plug in some basic banking info, make a few decisions about how much you want to spend on what, and Mint will keep you in line.

Resolution: Be More Productive App: Todoist

With so many Zoom meetings to attend, projects to finish, and errands to run, it’s almost impossible to keep track of everything. Enter: Todoist. Todoist allows you to easily organize and prioritize your tasks and projects so you’ll always know exactly what to work on next.

Resolution: Break A Bad Habit

lets you easily track your progress. It’s like your own personal pocket cheerleader, sending encouraging notifications when you achieve your goals.

Resolution: Be More Mindful App: Headspace

Finally, even if you are aware of the benefits of meditation—like lowering stress, improving sleep, increasing focus—the idea of sitting alone with your thoughts can be pretty daunting. Headspace makes it easier by providing a full library of themed meditation courses, expert guidance from a former monk, and Sleep Sounds to ease you into a good night’s rest.

That’s it for this edition of Tech Tips! Check out for more tips to make your technology work for yond never step into a dead zone again.

App: Strides

If you’re ready to kick your caffeine habit or stop hitting snooze every morning, Strides will help you keep your eyes on the prize. Strides helps you break down your goals into doable chunks, and

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Did you know that many “Internet” related problems come from the lack of a quality wireless connection in your home? Congestion, interference and bandwidth availability issues due to dated wireless equipment are some of the key factors that can cause your internet to run poorly. InterBel has the solution to help you overcome these obstacles! With InterBel Total Wi-Fi, we will come and evaluate your specific conditions by heat-mapping your home. Then we will provide the solution for your individual requirement. This could be as simple as moving your modem or router to a more ideal position in the home, providing an extender to boost signals to weak areas of your home, or in very tough conditions we can provide you with a mesh wireless network to cover your entire home. In order to correct these issues, all Total Wi-Fi customers will receive, at minimum, a Dual Band Wireless AC modem or router. These devices will come with an extended warranty, giving you peace of mind the equipment will be covered for the life of the product.

Sign up today at


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Annual meeting April 17th, 2021

visit website for more information

EUREKA OFFICE 300 Dewey Ave, Eureka, MT 59917

OFFICE: (406) 889-3311 TECH SUPPORT: (406) 889-1500


OFFICE HOURS 8am-4:30pm M-F

Profile for Tellwell

2021 InterBel Spring Newsletter  

2021 InterBel Spring Newsletter  

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