A little about us

History of Grand Mound Telephone Cooperative Association

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 building 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.

History of Grand Mound Communications  

Grand Mound Communciations Co. was formed in 1997 as a subsidiary of Grand Mound Cooperative Telephone Association, which has 100% ownership in the subsidiary. Grand Mound Communications Co. (GMCC) owns all the internet service, CATV and fiber optics cable that is provided in and out of the exchange.

CATV lines were installed in 1994 and service was ready to go in the spring of 1995. We started out with 35 basic channels and 2 pay channels. As of 2005 we are offering 52 basic channels and 3 pay channels. CATV is being provided in the town of Grand Mound, Ledo Hills subdivision, Prairie View Subdivision and portions of DeWitt.

Internet service was first offered to Grand Mound residents in October of 1995. Customers dialed a number that connected to the modems out at netINS in Des Moines, GMCC’s internet service provider. Modem speeds started out at 14.4K, which was pretty good for the needs of people at that time. But as more and more people used the internet for e-mail and logging on to web sites, the faster they wanted the information to be downloaded to them. In 1997 the modems were now being housed in our office and the max speed was 28.8. This was soon upgraded to the present 56K dial-up speeds that are being used today. In August of 2001, a new technology was turned up and ready to go that would provide even faster internet connection speeds. Digital subscriber line(DSL) was now being offered to residents in the Grand Mound exchange. The connecting speeds offered are 128K, 256K, 512K, 1024K and 1536K. This type of internet service is provided right over the existing telephone lines and is hooked up to a DSL modem at the subscribers computer. With this service you are always connected and there is no dial-up required.

The first fiber optic line was installed in the Grand Mound exchange in 1994 and was connected with the Calamus office of F&B Communications. CATV signal was sent over this line as well as the long distance service. Today there is fiber optics cable buried to Donahue and DeWitt as well as fiber optics buried out to remote cabinets in the rural areas of the Grand Mound exchange.

On September 17, 2002, Grand Mound Communications became its own internet service provider. With this came the launch of GMTel.net. By becoming our own ISP, we no longer sold the services of netINS. In the early morning hours of Sept. 17, we made the switch to GMTel.net. The first few days were pretty hectic, but overall the switch went well.

On July 28, 2005, Grand Mound Communications started construction of the Fiber to the Home project in DeWitt. This project will allow us to be able to offer telephone, cable television and high speed internet services to all customers in DeWitt. On August 1, 2005 CATV service was switched from F&B Communications in Wheatland to Dixon Telephone Co. While a few channels were replaced with other channels, overall, 1 extra channel was added and 1 pay channel was eliminated.