Grand Mound Telephone Cooperative Association History

A small group of farmers living southwest of Grand Mound were the first to have telephones in our area. In June of 1885 a telephone line was built between DeWitt and Grand Mound. In the 1890's neighborhood lines became a part of the German Mutual Telephone Company. Grand Mound then had exchange connections with Davenport, Tipton, DeWitt and Eldridge.

By 1902 the Farmers Mutual Telephone Company of Clinton County was organized. It was incorporated in 1904 with $4,000 in capital stock. Later a switchboard was added to the home of the operator. Calls were made by turning a crank on the phone. One long ring called "central"(the operator). Everyone had a different ring, however, everyone on the line could hear all the rings and listen to the news. Up to 20 people were on a line by the 1940's.

The Farmers Mutual Telephone Co. became the Grand Mound Cooperative Telephone Association in 1947.

Twenty-four hour service was established in 1948. On October 6, 1959, Grand Mound switched from eight houses on a party line and the old type switchboard with crank telephones to the new dial system. The change-over cost $75,000 with the bulk of the money going to the bulding of the new central office at 705 Clinton St. By 1968 there were four houses to a party line.

In February 1974, 100% single party service began. It was decided at the annual meeting in March of 1975 to purchase three hundred additional lines of used central office equipment to provide single party service to members. Touch tone service by some members and single party service to all members was in by 1976. Telephone wires were run underground in cables and telephone poles were becoming a thing of the past. The directors and their sons repaired the phones and climbed the poles to repair the lines.

In 1981 a new digital switch was installed. The cost of the new switch was $350,000. By 1982 all phones were changed to modular connections. At this time members could buy their own phones instead of leasing the phones. The new switch allowed for Call Waiting, Call Forwarding and Three Way Calling.

In 1989, the current Nortel DMS 10 switch was installed and allowed members to call "911" for emergencies. The DMS 10 can be upgraded to add new custom calling features that are in place today.

In 1997 GMCTA formed a subsidiary company to take over the business of internet, cable television and fiber optics services. Grand Mound Communications Co. was formed, thereby allowing GMCTA in keeping the coop what it was originally formed for.

In 2000, Alcatal equipment was installed in partnership with 3 other telephone companies to form an OC12 "ring". The main purpose of the "ring" is to keep long distance, internet and 911 circuits up and going if there is a fiber optics cable cut. If a cable gets cut, the "traffic" is routed the other way on the fiber optics cables, therefore forming a ring and keeping services uninterrupted.

In 2004, another "ring" was installed through our office with several companies to form the Eastern Iowa Network group "ring". Cisco equipment was installed for this OC48 "ring", however, Grand Mound Telephone currently is not running anything on this, but it is there for future use as needed.

2005 could basically be called the "year of change". A new in-house server was installed along with new software used for accounting, billing and service orders. This will better help us serve our current customers and new customers when we start cutting over subscribers from DeWitt. To accomplish this as well, we installed a new CopperCom switch in our Grand Mound office. This switch will eventually replace the Nortel DMS 10 switch that we are currently using. The CopperCom switch takes up very little room compared to the Nortel switch, so once everything is cut over, there will be alot more space in the switch room. In 2005, we also put 3 of our AFC remotes onto their own "ring". This will allow for uninterrupted service if a fiber optics cable gets cut going out to these remotes.

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