The History of the Conneaut Telephone Company

buildingServing an area of 57 square miles, the Conneaut Telephone Company was organized in 1897 by J.G. Palmer, J. Blood, and S. House of Conneaut, and E.L. Berber, and J.S. Brailey of Toledo. Construction was completed, and operations began on August 26, 1897.

The first exchange served only 120 telephones and in the early years of this century was in competition with the Central Union Telephone Company. Following the acquisition of Central Unions Conneaut holdings in 1912, a new exchange known as an auto-manual was installed and underground cable construction was begun as early as 1915. In 1941 the auto-manual exchange was replaced with a full-dial system which made the company one of the earliestguys in the industry to provide 100% dial service to its subscribers. Several central office additions and equipment upgrades have taken place over the years, the latest being the change to didital technology with the replacement of the analog equipment with a digital telecom switch in 1986 and a stand-alone satellite office serving the Bushnell exchange to the south.

In the Fall of 1990, customers began choosing their own long distance carrier, making the company one of the first to be 100% digital and 100% equal across. The 1991 school year saw nine Ashtabula County high schools connected to the Ashtabula branch of Kent State University via an interactive fiber-optic network. This was the first such network in Ohio and was the result of the joint effort of Conneaut and the other three telephone companies serving ashtabula County. By the end of 1992, Ashtabula County residents and their families were enjoying the peace of mind of being served by an enhanced 911 emergency system.

Recent years have seen service offerings including digital centrex and voice mail, as well as venturing onto the information superhighway with the introduction of internet accessing 1996 through its affiliate Suite224. In 1999 the company began construction of the most ambitious project in its history, an 18 million dollar Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) operatorssystem providing telephone, broadband, and video services to core area customers over a single coaxial line, through its wholly-owned subsidary, CableSuite 541.

The company headquarters building was constructed in 1921 with additions taking place in 1966, and 1978. Nearby property acquisitions have provided an adjacent warehouse and parking facilities for 41 employees who serve some 7,700 access lines, 4,200 internet customers, and 2,500 cable TV subscribers. A switching office and a warehouse are located on Rt. 84 in Monroe Township. While the new East Main Rd. Industrial Park is home to the CableSuite 541 head end building, communications tower and 35 foot satellite dish.

In its 110+ year history, the company has had only 6 managers, the most recent being President and General Manager, Ken Johnson.