We are committed to connecting our customers to voice, data and video through a high quality network that will produce increased value for our shareholders, employees and the communities we serve.
History of RTC
For nearly a century, Rochester Telephone Company has been connecting our community: family to family, friend to friend, business to business.
Born on Nov. 26, 1895, RTC was formed originally on the impetus of five leading businessmen, committed pioneers who recognized the immediate need and benefits of voice communications in the business communities of Rochester and parts of surrounding Fulton County. These businessmen set their plan quickly into motion; by May of 1896 there were 149 subscribers and the telephone calls began.
From those modest beginnings, RTC has grown with the needs of our community. In April 1896, the first long distance call was placed. By April 1958, the company building had doubled in size to replace manual local connections with automatic dial equipment. RTC has indeed grown from those first bold customers and a single operator, hand-crank telephones and 100 shares of common stock, into one of the primary leaders in telecommunications in Indiana. RTC Currently provides service to 6,500 access lines.
As much as we appreciate our past, our eyes are focused on the future. We are committed to providing the latest products and superior service through state of the art technology and at affordable rates. That has been our heritage and we expect it will be our future.
Highlights in RTC History
- Nov. 26, 1895: Rochester Town Council granted franchise to five businessmen for establishment of a telephone company. Lyman M Brackett, Joseph A. Myers, George W Holman, Henry A. Barnhart, and Rome C. Stephenson were founders and established monthly rental fees of $2 for business phone and $1 per month for residential service. Secretary of State authorization for corporation to conduct business was dated Dec. 3, 1895.
- May 30, 1896: First switchboard located in small room at rear of Dawson building, 8th and Main streets, began active operation with 149 customers. Belle Bernetha was chief operator and served until a 1941 retirement.
- March 17, 1897: First toll line to Argos.
- April 1898: First toll connection to Peru.
- 1898 and 1908: Major sleet storms.
- 1909: Common battery system installed, replacing hand crank magneto telephone systems.
- 1914: Lot at 117 W. Eighth St., where present central office building stands, was purchased.
- April 1, 1927: Purchase of Whippoorwill Telephone Company from Eliza Steinigner, approximately 125 subscribers in Richland and Aubbeenaubbee Townships in Fulton County and Green and Union Townships of Marshall County.
- 1931: Company lost 15 percent of 1,600 subscribers during Depression. It took until 1935 to regain those numbers.
- 1938: Constructed $35,000 35-by 65-foot building at 117 West Eighth Street; this is front half of current building.
- 1950: Major sleet storm.
- 1953: Stockholder resolution authorized sale of 3,000 shares of common stock at $13.50 per share to broaden organizational base to help insure the company would continue as independent, home-owned institution.
- 1953-54: Size of 117 W. 8th Street building doubled in anticipation of installation of dial equipment.
- 1954-55: Garage/warehouse at 507 E. Eighth Street to house vehicles, cable, and pole yard was constructed.
- April 28, 1957: Dial service began. Local calls numbered 25,000 that day.
- May 1957: Rate case before Public Service Commission of Indiana established single line business rate of $9.75 and private line residence at $5.50.
- September 1957: 3,611 telephones in service. Average number of local calls was 15, 115; average daily number of long distance calls was 1,000-1,200.
- December 31, 1957: 100 “colored” telephones in service was noted in annual report.
- August 1959: Time-of-day equipment was installed. Average 200 calls per day.
- 1966: East Eighth Street garage was enlarged with 30- by 35-foot addition.
- March 1967: Installation of IBM equipment to “read” and rate toll tickets.
- December 31, 1969: 10-9-8-7-6 party lines a thing of the past; time-of-day machine answered an average of 350 calls daily.
- April 3, 1974: Worst tornado in Fulton County history struck, necessitated borrowing $150,000 from Small Business Administration of the United States to replace and repair 15 miles of pole lines and cable plant.
- November 17, 1974: Direct distance dialing equipment put into service, elimination jobs of 33 local telephone operators.
- October 1, 1976: Computerized billing for customer monthly statements was instituted.
- 1978: 40- by 30-foot addition to East 8th Street garage building for housing of trucks and work equipment.
- April 20, 1980: Stromberg-Carlson digital central office replacing step-by-step switching system, which had been in service for 24 years.
- 1987: Major restoration and remodeling of central office building.
- February 26, 1991: Second generation digital switch put into service, eliminating party line service. Introduced enhanced and custom calling features, as well as equal access for long distance carriers.
- July 2, 1991: Lightning struck tower at central office, entering office causing $150,000 damage to new switch. Service restored to most customers within 24 hours.
- 1994: Installed fiber optic cable connecting all community schools in Rochester.
- March 1995: Occupied new warehouse and service garage on East 4th Street. Built at an approximate cost of $380,000, this facility serves as the hub for outside plant operations. The building and land at 507 E. 8th Street was sold to the City of Rochester.
- October 1995: Established donor-advised endowment to total $100,000 within Fulton County Community Foundation to insure continued giving to support worthwhile community projects and agencies.
- June 1996: Celebrated 100 years of service to the Rochester area.
- July 1996: Began Internet service originally called “Town Square” Internet service is now branded as RTC On-Line
- June 10,1999: Began to offer long distance service
- June 25,1999: Expansion of existing office in Rochester.
- Mid 1999: Began providing Internet service to rural areas outside of the Rochester exchange.
- September 2000: Opening of our Akron Office as a full service provider to Akron residents and businesses. Offering local telephone service, long distance, Internet and cable tv.
- March 2002: Purchased Medt Internet service in Mentone.
- September 2002: RTC Board of Directors approved a $9 million dollar fiber-to-the-home project, dubbed FiberConnect, in the Rochester city and selected areas outside the city limits. Project included phone, high-speed Internet and cable tv.
- April 2003: First FiberConnet customer in Rochester is launched.
- June 2004: RTC installs its one thousandth customer.
- Feb 2005: Added Wireless Internet to Fulton and Kewanna
- Dec 2006: Started offering Digital and High-Definition television services.