Wabash Mutual Telephone Company has come a long way since its inception in 1905. Back then, subscribers had to string their own telephone wire along poles they had cut from local woods.
In October of 1911, Wabash Mutual Telephone Company was incorporated under the laws of the state of Ohio. This was also the year that Wabash began providing service beyond just local calls. Customers were now able to make calls to the big city of Celina. A phone call to there was considered long distance and cost 10 cents. The monthly assessment per subscriber was 40 cents.
On March 19, 1912, Wabash purchased an area of land known as the Bobenmoeyer property. This is where the main office is located today. The company expanded its service on March 5, 1924, by offering long-distance service to Coldwater and Fort Recovery, Ohio, as well as Bryant and New Corydon, Indiana. On December 29 of the same year, the Board purchased a new Kelloge switchboard for $483.78 to handle the growth of new subscribers.
A meeting concerning the purchase of Wabash by Celina Telephone Company was held on December 17, 1927. On December 5, 1928, subscribers took a vote on whether to sell the company to Celina. Subscribers opposed the sale 112 to 8.
Due to an increase in the number of subscribers over the years, an operator and lineman were employed in 1933 to maintain the lines and provide 24-hour service. The period from 9:00pm to 6:00am, however, was designated for emergency calls only.
In January 1951, a special meeting of the subscribers was held to discuss the rebuilding of lines that were deteriorating. A fee of $13.00 was charged to each subscriber to help pay for the reconstruction. In March 1960, Wabash purchased a dial station so that subscribers could have the more modern rotary phones installed. These phones took the place of the outdated crank phones, which had been in use since the company’s inception.
By 1967, Wabash had installed cable halfway to Celina to meet GTE’s (now Frontier) cable. This allowed Wabash to offer toll-free service to Celina. On April 6, 1974, Wabash offered extended area service. This meant that subscribers could now also call Fort Recovery and Coldwater without being charged a toll.
From 1980 to 1985, underground cable was installed to provide one-party service to all subscribers. In 1986, 32.5 miles of underground cable was installed by a contractor to complete the 81 square mile area served by Wabash. Also in 1986, a new digital switching system was completed. This provided Wabash subscribers with the county’s first 911 service.
In 1993 Wabash joined with 19 other Ohio-based independent telephone companies to form a consortium named Com Net. The purpose was to provide SS7 service. This allowed Wabash to be one of the first in the area to provide caller I.D. and other “intelligent network” services. In 1994, the company and the consortium began offering internet access throughout Ohio using the Bright.net brand name. Wabash began offering this service during the second quarter of 1995.
In 2006, Wabash activated a newly installed fiber to the premise network and began offering IP digital television service to their subscribers. This fiber network allowed Wabash to not only expand its service offerings but also its service area. Today, Wabash has triple-play service (phone, internet, and digital and stream TV) available in their original service area, as well as the municipalities of Celina, Coldwater, Fort Recovery, Neptune, Rockford and St. Henry.
In the future, Wabash intends to maintain its position as a cutting-edge service provider through the adoption of ever-advancing technology in the communications industry. Staying abreast of the latest technological advances will enable us to provide our customers with the best services available.