The History of Santa Rosa Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
In 1950, telephones were few or non-existent for the farmers, ranchers and businesses in rural areas of Wilbarger County, Texas. Telephone companies in the area were just not interested in building miles of telephone line to reach rural customers “off the beaten path.” Therefore, telephone service was available only to residents in town or along major highways.
Led by a Harrold, Texas farmer and businessman, Carl G. Freeling, community leaders from Wilbarger County began meeting to discuss a telephone loan program sponsored by the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), a branch of the federal government that helped to extend electric service to rural areas across the country. These were dedicated men, who volunteered their time to plan, survey and gather information needed to organize, establish and charter Santa Rosa Telephone Cooperative, Inc. in August of 1951.
The following year, 1952, telephone lines and equipment were installed in Wilbarger and surrounding counties. The service provided was eight-party line, or eight customers on each line. The party line was not a problem however, because most customers used their telephones for business and emergency calls only. The telephone also saved trips to town and provided security for the members and their property.
Santa Rosa Telephone Cooperative made its first profit in 1969. It was then that members were allocated Capital Credit Patronage. Santa Rosa’s members have benefited from many Capital Credit Refunds over the years with the first of these refunds made in 1984.
Santa Rosa Telephone Cooperative is continually striving to maintain and improve customer service and its facilities. In 1982 the eight-party lines were updated to single or private lines. In 1998 Santa Rosa began installing fiber optic near the home and today installs fiber to the home for its customers to receive telephone, high speed Internet and IPTV with plenty of additional bandwidth for future applications.
With the purchase of the Crowell, Texas exchange from GTE in 1995, Santa Rosa grew to a total of fourteen (14) exchanges in Texas and Oklahoma. Due to the ever changing telecommunications world, Santa Rosa entered into the competitive market place in 1999 building fiber optic lines, plant and equipment to its first competitive local exchange, Seymour, Texas. Santa Rosa Telephone Cooperative has continued to grow adding twelve (12) more exchanges with the most recent being the Haskell, Texas exchange in 2006.
Continuing to add service and value to our customers in 1999 Santa Rosa Communications LTD was created to offer long distance service. In 2000 SRCaccess.net- dial up Internet was introduced and in 2001 high speed Internet was added. In 2005, SRTV started to offer IPTV in exchanges serviced by fiber optic lines and continues to improve the service to add the latest in TV viewing to all customers.
Now with twenty-six (26) exchanges and three business office locations Vernon, Seymour and Haskell, Santa Rosa continues to provide local customer service, maintenance, installation and repair service providing the latest technology to rural areas served across North Central Texas and South Central Oklahoma.
Over the past sixty one (61) years Santa Rosa Telephone Cooperative has evolved from providing an eight-party line service to fiber-to-the-home. It is a telecommunication company continuing to uphold the original aim of the Cooperative: To provide dependable area-wide telephone service on the cooperative plan and at the lowest cost consistent with sound economy and good management. Santa Rosa understands and will continue to face head-on the challenges of providing cutting edge technology to the rural areas and communities we serve.