History of CCTC
The Cochrane Cooperative Telephone Co., (CCTC) organized as the Farmers Telephone Co., started construction in 1904 and received its charter from W. L. Houser, the Secretary of the State of Wisconsin on July 19, 1905.
The territory served consisted of the communities of Cochrane and Buffalo City and the adjacent rural area extending as far east as and including Waumandee.
The first switchboard was installed in the home of John Schlosstein and his daughter Mabel was the first operator. The record shows that in 1913, Mr. Schlosstein was paid $30 a month plus a percentage of the revenue from long distance calls to keep the switchboard in operation. In 1914 this was raised to $35 a month. Actually, according to Mrs. Vernie Giesen, a younger daughter of Mr. Schlosstein operating the switch board was somewhat a family affair, and her mother ran it when she and her sister were in school. If a call came in late at night, someone had to climb out of bed, run down stairs and answer it.
It is interesting to note that in 1912 the directors voted to pay the lineman "not over $.25 per hour, other occasional help to be hired at the same rate", teamsters who hauled loads of poles to the top of Cochrane Ridge were paid $1.00 per load and the directors were paid $2.00 per meeting. In 1919, it was voted to pay the lineman $0.70 per hour but he was required to furnish his own team or auto to look after the lines. In 1922 the pay was lowered to $0.60.
In 1919, George Hartnagel was elected to act as manager of the company, and the switchboard was moved to the upper floor of the Weinandy Building in Cochrane, where it remained until the Cochrane-Buffalo area was converted to dial operation in 1961; Waumandee had been changed over to dial 1955. At present, operator calls are handled out of Winona.
For many years members were not charged by the month, instead yearly assessments were levied, with occasional extra assessments during the year if the need arose. These assessments varied from year to year depending on the financial requirements of the cooperative.
Over the years a number of linemen worked for the company, some at times acted as the manager, also. Among them were John Schlosstein, George Hartnagel, Odell Lindrud, Harry Hendricks, Lawrence Tuxen and Norman Bollinger. James Kannel was hired as lineman in 1953 and became manager in 1968.
In 1960 the name of the company was change to the Cochrane Cooperative Telephone Co., though it is of interest to note that as early as 1923 it was referred to as "The Cochrane Telephone Co." and in 1939 as "The Cochrane Farmers Telephone Co." in the minutes of the directors meetings of those years.
In 1965, at the annual meeting of the company, a vote of recognition was accorded to Frank B. Rohrer, who was on toe the founders of the company and a director and later president for many years, and who had attended every annual meeting for the company for 60 years, a remarkable record.
In 1968 it was decided that the system should be completely rebuilt and modernized, and studies were made in regard to a loan from REA for that purpose. As a result a loan was finally granted and contracts for rebuilding were signed in 1969.
During 1969 and 1970 the present telephone company building which had been constructed in 1961 was enlarged, new switching equipment was added, the office moved from the Weinandy building to new quarters there. The old overhead lines were replaced by underground cables and new phones placed in operation in April of 1971. Party lines were completely eliminated and it became possible to dial long distance calls directly.
Since 1970 the number of customers served has increased dramatically, especially in the Buffalo City area, and it has reached a point when further expansion of the facilities will soon be necessary.
1983 a new digital switch was installed. This switch enabled CCTC to change from Analog to Digital Switching and offer Class features (Call Waiting, Call Forwarding etc.)
1989 we bought into RSA 5 Wireless service with the conception of Cochrane Cellular.
1990 the company plowed fiber cable to Fountain City and Alma,. Long distance circuits were now put on fiber.
1995 CCTC joined with 7 other telephone companies to form Midwest Telnet and our internet service began.
1998 CCTC purchased land from SG Lindrud for future building projects.
1999 Our cellular partnership with RSA 5 merged with Midwest Wireless. This enables us to become a partner in a 3 state wide area.
2000 CCTC started a 5 year project to rebuild our entire plant with a goal of creating a state of the art Network for providing the Triple Play. (Dial Tone, Digital TV and DSL).
With the onset of cellular and internet services and forever changing technology, we implemented DSL service in 2001. We also built the new warehouse and storage area across the street. This building certainly helps to house the vehicles, cable fiber and supplies needed for the upkeep of the company.
2004 another new ventures was started. Cochrane Cellular partnered with HBC of Winona in the burying of a fiber optic cable from Cochrane to Winona and implemented CTV (Cochrane TV) a widely enjoyed digital TV service for our exchange customers. In 2004 the Triple Play was born. The remodeling projected was complete.
2005 CCTC implemented the first Next Generation Soft Switch in the State of Wisconsin. The new Meta Switch will allow CCTC to offer the latest in Next Generation Switching. (VOIP, LNP and CALEA).
With the rapid growth of new technology in the telephone industry, including the development of an entirely new method of voice transmission employing fiber optics has persuaded the board of directors to put the wheels in motion for fiber optics to the home, which then started in 2009.
2011 CCTC reached a milestone with completing their Fiber to the Home project to all of their customers. With reaching 100% broadband, advances CCTC future in an ever changing technology driven environment. IPTV was launched allowing customers access to high definition (HD) TV along with new services like our Personal Video Recorder (PVR).