A brief history….
Early 1900’s – Beginnings of the Company
Wellman Mutual Telephone Company was formed, a switchboard was purchased, at a cost of $260, and drops were run to subscribers’ homes. The rural areas gradually were served through “switcher lines”, which were owned by the rural subscribers. These switcher lines were governed by their own board of directors and were responsible for collecting funds and paying Wellman Mutual for the switching of their calls.
1958 – Conversion to Dial
Wellman Mutual Telephone Company and the independent switcher lines formed the Wellman Cooperative Telephone Association, and began the task of converting to dial service and upgrading the rural cable plant.
1973-74 – Single Party, Buried Cable
The aerial plant was replaced with buried cable and party lines were eliminated.
1981 – Digital Switching
The Stromberg-Carlson XY switch was replaced by a digital central office, providing for growth, improved quality of service, and advanced services including custom calling features.
Filled buried cable was introduced to gradually replace the existing air core cable which is damaged by moisture over time. A sales organization, WKIJ, was formed to provide equipment sales and maintenance to Wellman and the surrounding communities. Mobile telephone and wide area paging services were offered. An all-digital toll connection was established to US West. The company joined in establishing Iowa Network Services, which made possible the offering of long distance equal access to the Wellman subscribers.
1994- Fiber Optics
Wellman and 3 neighboring companies joined to install a fiber optic toll route between the companies and to INS.
1995 – Second generation digital switch
In order to provide advanced services such as SS7 signaling and caller ID services, the digital switch installed in 1981 was replaced with a state of the art digital switching system. This year also saw the launch of our Internet services through INS.
2000 – Launch of SEI Wireless LLC
Wellman Cooperative Telephone Association formed a partnership with Sharon Telephone to start offering cellular services through SEI Wireless LLC.
2004 – Upgrade to a softswitch
A softswitch was added to our central office to ensure access to new telephone features.
2010 – IPTV service is launched and our fiber build out was started
IPTV service is launched to provide video services to the residents of Wellman. We also began a project to expand fiber-based services to our customers’ homes and businesses. When our fiber project is complete, our customers will have access to enhanced high-speed Internet and other advanced telecommunication services.
Central office upgrade to a META switch. Our entire service area has been cut over to a 100% fiber network.
We have replaced our paging tower with a new 150′ tower to be used for cellular phone usage and other services.
Wellman Cooperative Telephone Association serves approximately 1,200 subscribers in the Wellman area, including portions of Washington, Johnson, Iowa, and Keokuk counties, offering features comparable to those of any metropolitan area along with the personal service one would expect from a small town company.