Letter from the President

Tim Miles, President

Letter from the President

I’ve been talking about all the innovations and incredible services and offerings we keep rolling out, but this month I want to spend a little time talking about the ‘good ole days.’

There are over 30 traditional telephone companies in the state of Indiana. Most were consolidated from small farmer exchanges put in to connect neighbors.

In the 1930’s, the government decided they needed to create a system that would guarantee a landline to every household in America. Their answer was to give monopoly status to the biggest company at the time American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T)…good ole “Ma Bell.”

Now “Ma Bell” had a problem. They had their hands full with the big cities and did not have time to build out rural America. So they reached out to all the rural communities and asked for help. In return for a monopoly in a specific territory, AT&T guaranteed to pay participating companies a supplemental income to make sure they could afford to build service to every house in the exchange.

On top of that, only participants were given access to the infamous long distance line service.

In the 1950’s, my grandparents bought the Napoleon Telephone Company in tiny Napoleon, Indiana. The telephone switchboard was in their bedroom, so if someone needed to make a call on the middle of the night they were right there. If you needed to make a long distance telephone call you had to go to my grandparents’ home and use the phone booth in their living room.

Think about how for telephone service has come in such a short time. Think about where we will be in another 75 years.

Just call the Hawk!

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