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Watch the documentary video created in 2013 as part of the company 110 Year Celebrations.
Our 100th anniversary year began auspiciously with the completion of our beautiful, new business office and corporate headquarters building. Construction was completed and the building turned over to the company by the contractor on December 31, 2002. During the following 45 days modular office furniture and partitions were installed, the telephone system network constructed and tested, and the administrative staff moved from the old office building into the new. The building now houses our corporate and administrative offices, the accounting dept., our internet/unregulated services affiliate offices, the customer service dept., the marketing and community development dept., the human resources office, the revenue development officer's office, a conference room, a board room, an elevator, a lunch room and a large multi-purpose conference room. The structure contains over 14,000 square feet of floor space.
1979, BRANCH COX TAKES OVER MANAGEMENT REINS: Upon Iven's retirement in 1979, he retained the titles of President and Chairman of the Board, but placed his son, I Branch Cox, then 27-years old, in charge of running the business. Branch was an experienced and respected excavation contractor and had learned the telephone business at his father's knee from his earliest days.
The demands of running the construction and technical side of the business made it difficult for Branch to effectively deal with the day-to-day paperwork and minutia of running the business office. One of his first acts was to retain the services of his cousin, Eddie L. Cox, to deal with that side of the business. It was one of the most far-sighted and fortuitous decisions Branch ever made. The different but highly compatible strengths of the two men would prove to be the catalyst that in just two decades would catapult the company from being just another tiny, one-horse rural telephone company to the very top of the rural telco industry in the region.
At the time Branch took over, the company only had three employees; Branch, Eddie, and Mike Bringhurst. Mike did service calls and helped Branch with construction projects.
1980, MODERNIZATION: Branch and Eddie immediately began to modernize and expand the company's operations. While Branch set about improving the outside plant, Eddie went to work modernizing the business office. By 1983 the company had installed its first computer system and was performing its own internal billing service. For the first time in its history, the phone company was getting its bills out on time.
1983, THE DAY THE MOUNTAIN FELL: Just when things appeared to be going smoothly, disaster struck. On April 14th, 1983, a massive landslide in Spanish Fork Canyon dammed a major waterway, buried the only highway leading through the canyon, and buried a major national east/west railway. In a matter of hours, the Thistle central office facility and all the phone lines leading through Spanish Fork Canyon were under ninety or more feet of water.
Working feverishly and against nearly impossible odds, Branch and Eddie located an operational new digital switch, transported it to Utah, built a new central office building, installed the new switch, rerouted and reconnected phone lines and had the whole system operational and back in service in only ten days time. Normal industry timetables for such a project were around one year. Their's was a feat that netted the company considerable attention in the national telephone industry press.
1985, NEW BUSINESS OFFICE: 1985 and 86 saw major improvements. The company secured an REA loan and substantially upgraded their plant. A modern new business office was constructed and an IBM System 36 mainframe computer system installed. For the first time in history, all the company's accounting, rating, and billing was done internally. Additionally, a state-of -the-art Nortel DMS 10 digital switch was installed, bringing such modern call services as call-waiting, three-way calling, speed-dialing, and more to our telephone customers.
1989, SERVICE EXTENDED TO THE TOP OF SPANISH FORK CANYON: 1989 proved to be a year of major expansions. The company applied for and received approval from the State PSC for permission to extend service eastward in Spanish Fork Canyon across Soldier Summit, all the way to Colton Junction. Construction along one of Utah's most dangerous highways proved hazardous, but the project was completed without injury.
Branch Cox recalls that the residents of Soldier Summit, who had never had telephone service before, gathered along the highway at the edge of town and cheered wildly when the bulldozers plowing in the cable finally appeared from over the hill and worked their way down to the town.
1989, MORONI EXCHANGE PURCHASE: Working against very difficult circumstances, including sellers who wanted to back out of the deal at the last minute, the company succeeded in purchasing Skyline Telecom from All-West Communications. The purchase turned out to be a cliff-hanger. All-West's owner wanted to withdraw from the sale at the last minute, but was bound by a contract close/recording date of 5:00 p.m. on December 29. If the sale were not closed and recorded in the county recorder's office by that time and date, CentraCom would have had to forfeit a $200,000 earnest money deposit and the sale would have been voided.
On the 29th at 3:00 p.m., the escrow closed in Salt Lake City. All that remained was for the closing to be recorded at the Courthouse in Manti, over one-hundred-miles away, before the recorders office closed at 5:00 p.m. The escrow company's representative left Salt Lake City just after 3:00 p.m. driving an old Yugo. At 4:30, a frantic Eddie Cox, convinced the representative was not going to make it by the time the office closed at 5:00 p.m., was on the phone with the County Recorder, begging them not to close the office until the representative arrived. The recorder told Eddie the office was closing at 5:00 p.m. no matter what. Finally, at five minutes to five, the Yugo pulled up to the courthouse and the representative made it into the recorders office just barely before the clock ticked 5:00 p.m. Had he been just a few moments later, the Moroni exchange would never have been a part of the CentraCom family.
Shortly after the sale was completed, a new digital switch was installed in Moroni, dramatically improving telephone service.
1993, GARDEN CITY/SCOFIELD PURCHASE: 1993 witnessed another dramatic expansion of the CentraCom coverage area. This time the company was successful in purchasing the Scofield Exchange and, more importantly, the Garden City/Laketown exchange from U.S. West. By 1994 the company had installed a high-capacity digital radio link between Bear Lake and Logan, Utah, and installed and cut-over a new digital switch in the Garden City central office. These improvements so dramatically improved telephone service that in less than one year the number of subscribers in the exchange nearly doubled.
The same dramatic service improvement was made in Scofield as well. Shortly after taking over the exchange, the company replaced Utah's last working stepper-switch with a modern digital switch. The company was then linked to the Fairview office via a newly installed fiber optic cable link and high quality modern telephone calling services were made available to Scofield residents for the first time.
1995, INTERNET SERVICE: In 1996, CentraCom became one of the first Utah rural telcos to provide its own internet service. That business is now one of the largest providers of Internet access in the state of Utah.
1997, GOSHEN/EUREKA PURCHASE: in 1997, the company made yet another large expansion by purchasing the telephone exchanges in Goshen and Eureka from U.S. West. U.S. West was required to upgrade switching to full digital facilities in both communities as part of the sale. The following summer a fiber optic cable was installed between Goshen and Eureka which gave both communities connectivity directly back to Fairview via the path purchased from U.S. West as part of the sale. Both communities are now remotely switched from the Fairview DMS-10 Master Switch.
1999, LOGAN CANYON/LITTLE SAHARA FIBER PROJECTS: In the summer of 1999, the company installed fiber optic cable all the way to the top of Logan Canyon, enabling telephone service to residents of that area for the first time ever. Additionally, the company plowed in 26 miles of fiber optic cable from Eureka to the Little Sahara National Recreation Area, which enabled reliable emergency telephone service to this important recreation destination for the first time ever.
2001: CENTRACOM PURCHASED BY LICT: After remaining in the Cox family for more than 90 years, CentraCom's successful operations and good management caught the eye of LICT, a company based in Rye, New York. LICT specializes in the purchase of small, well-managed rural telecommunications companies. During the disastrous stock market reversals of 2001 in the telecommunications industry, LICT was one of the the few national firms whose operations remained very profitable.
On June 18th 2001, LICT's buyout of CentraCom was completed, making the company a wholly owned subsidiary of the parent company. It was a seamless transition with all existing management and staff left in place. The acquisition has been very positive for both CentraCom and LICT. The company now has access to revenues and management resources that would never have been possible before.
"We're still a family," says Chairman, Branch Cox. "The difference is that now we're a much larger, stronger, more healthy one with a significantly brighter future for our employees and for the communities we serve."
President Eddie Cox echoes these sentiments and adds, "The LICT buyout brings world-class telecommunications resources to our doorstep. Resources that will allow us to step forward into the new millennium confident that we will successfully meet the twin challenges of increasing competition and rapidly evolving next-generation technology changes."
2001, MAJOR EXCHANGE PURCHASES NEARLY DOUBLE COMPANY SIZE: A significant expansion of the company took place in 2001. Qwest Communications, successor to U.S. West, divested itself of a number of rural exchanges in Utah that year. Our company succeeded in acquiring the crown jewel that would complete our ownership of all exchanges in northern Sanpete County by purchasing the Mt. Pleasant/Spring City exchange. Additionally, in that same sale we extended our westward reach all the way to the Utah/Nevada border by purchasing the Dugway and Wendover, Utah exchanges. With the completion of these purchases, the CentraCom's geographical footprint now covers almost one sixth of the land mass of the State of Utah and touches our sister states of Idaho and Nevada.
2001/2002: NEW FIBER TO MT. PLEASANT, NEW CENTRAL OFFICE FOR SPRING CITY: After acquiring the Mt. Pleasant/Spring City exchange, the next priority was to incorporate the new area into CUT's centralized switching facilities. In order to do that, new fiber had to be run from the Fairview CO to the Mt. Pleasant CO. That job was done in the summer of 2001. On October 31 of that year all switching services formerly handled by Qwest were handed off to CUT and calls routed through the Fairview main switch for the first time.
In 2002 new fiber optic and copper cable was run from Mt. Pleasant to Spring City and a new Spring City remote CO built. This enabled a dramatic improvement in telephone service quality and reliability for Spring City subscribers and brought high-speed DSL internet service to the community for the first time.
CENTRACOM PURCHASES CABLE TV SYSTEM: The largest expansion in the history of the company occurred with the purchase of the Precis Communications cable TV system in the Sevier and Sanpete Counties in 2005. This acquisition launched Cable TV service and expanded Internet service. This purchase included an extensive fiber optic network. Since the initial Precis Communications purchase, CentraCom purchased the Precis Communications system in West Wendover, NV. In 2010, CentraCom expanded into Juab County with the purchase of the Nephi, UT system from Comcast Inc. and the Fillmore and Delta systems in Millard County. With each acquisition, CentraCom has invested heavily in rebuilding the systems and enhancing the service in each area. In 2013, a new fiber optic line was completed connecting Delta and Fillmore with large capacity IP bandwidth.
STATEWIDE FIBER OPTIC NETWORK: The future of communications is in the large capacity of fiber optic networks. CentraCom has been on the leading edge of fiber optic network expansion in the state of Utah. CentraCom has the second largest fiber optic network in the state with a network that reaches nearly every area in the state. CentraCom is the leading provider of high capacity Internet circuits. This expansive network is instrumental in connecting the rural areas of Utah and Nevada to a nation-wide network. The CentraCom fiber optic network is connecting nearly every school south of Salt Lake City, UT throughout its entire service area. Also, nearly every rural healthcare facilities in the CentraCom service area is increasing their ability to provide quality service with the high capacity connection on the CentraCom network provides. And soon, Millard county schools and healthcare facilities will be connected with instantaneous communications to the national network.
CentraCom announced installing Utah's first 100 Gigabit Metro Backbone network on May 21, 2015. This new network is a major investment. As demand continues to grow for more reliability and capacity, CentraCom is now positioned to handle this growing demand. The new 100 Gbps network makes CentraCom a long-term solution for the bandwidth demands now and well into the future. Click here to read more.
Roy B. Cox
In the early 1900's, Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company installed the first telephone service in Sanpete County by bringing telephone lines into Mt. Pleasant, Utah. But the company refused to extend service just six more miles to reach the town of Fairview. Ezekial Cheney, Elsbury Garlick and Oscar Norman decided to remedy this problem by establishing Utah's first independent rural telephone company.
On July 4, 1903, their partnership, called Fairview Telephone Company, received a franchise to construct a local telephone system in Fairview. At the time, the novelty of telephone service was only affordable by the more wealthy citizens. In their first year, Fairview Telephone Company only sold and installed a total of four telephones.
The following year the company joined forces with the new electric light company and jointly constructed telephone and electric light lines in the community. By the end of 1904, a number of new telephones had been installed in homes and businesses.
After several changes in ownership in ensuing years, Roy B. Cox purchased the entire telephone system on July 1, 1919. The business remained in the Cox family from that day forward.
On July 31, 1926, the telephone office, which was then located on the second floor of a downtown business building, was completely destroyed by a fire which ravaged most of Fairview's downtown business section. Almost two hundred subscribers suddenly found themselves without phone service. Just six months later, on December 19th, Roy threw the switch on new service in a newly constructed brick central office and telephone service was restored to the community. Roy subsequently extended telephone lines to Milburn and Indianola.
During the 1920's and 30's, many men who lived in Fairview worked miles away in coal mines located at Scofield and Clear Creek, Utah. These miners would be away from their families for months at a time. Back then, long distance calls were charged by the length of wire the signal had to travel. Calls from Scofield were routed through Salt Lake City. Even though the men were only about thirty miles away, calls were so expensive most couldn't afford to call home.
Roy solved this problem by building a line directly over the mountains. Using a Model "T" Ford pickup truck and horses, he strung a line on trees wherever he could, and used poles through the clearings. The Model "T" was the company's only installation vehicle at the time. When the arduous task was done, husbands and fathers from Sanpete Valley could affordably communicate on a regular basis with their families back home. Roy's actions set a precedent for the way long distance calls are billed that survives to this day.
The business was always a family project. Different members of the family would take turns operating the magneto switchboard, installing the old crank-type magneto phones, or helping construct new open-wire telephone lines.
Iven R. Cox
In the winter of 1939, a tragic accident befell the Cox family that very nearly altered the succession of the company. Roy's son, Iven, was trying to restore service following a disastrous snow storm. Unbeknownst to him, a high-voltage power line had fallen and come in contact with the bare telephone wires. As Iven tried to unravel the telephone wires he came into contact with the high-voltage and was very nearly killed. After a long hospital fight he miraculously survived the electrocution, but the accident left him without his right arm and took off two of the fingers on his left hand.
Undaunted by the results of the accident, and refusing to consider himself handicapped, Iven took over management of the business from brother-in-law, Bernal Harvey, in 1940. He operated the company continuously until his retirement in 1979.
In 1961, Iven incorporated the business and changed the name to Central Utah Telephone. Under Iven's stewardship the company grew substantially. The company purchased the Fountain Green, Utah, exchange in 1962. The following year he extended service into the small communities of Birdseye and Thistle. At the time, Thistle was an important railroad switching center for trains making the mountain crossing between Price and Spanish Fork.
With Iven at the helm, the company underwent several generations of technological change. Iven started his telephone career at his father's knee in the era of old, crank-style telephones. He participated in the evolution from operator-assisted crank service to some of the first rotary dial service ever offered in Utah. His career ended just at the beginning of the era when modern touch-tone service was beginning to be offered.
Iven was generous to a fault and many times would try to literally give more to the good of individuals and the community than the business could afford. One of the untold stories of Iven's career is the important role his cherished wife, Cleone, played in helping keep the business healthy. It was the steady, good business hand of Cleone that helped control Iven's generosity and kept the business side of the company running on a strong, steady course.
Iven was devoted to his community. He never missed a chance to help out with community projects when ever he could or to offer a hand to individuals down on their luck. One of Iven's dreams was for Fairview to have its own bank. He helped form a community credit union and was instrumental in persuading Far West Bank to locate in Fairview. He was also instrumental in bringing a food store to town. He was active in Boy Scouts all his life. He constantly amazed young men with his ability to swim and to tie knots with just his two fingers and a thumb.
But perhaps the greatest contribution Iven made to the benefit of the company was teaching his son, Branch, the telephone business. Branch's "education " started when he was a young lad just old enough to accompany his father on service calls and construction projects and culminated in his appointment to run the company after Iven retired in 1979
Cleone passed away in 1989 and Iven in 1992.