This is the final installment from Matt Friesen on the history of Mainstay Communications.
MAINSTAY COMMUNICATIONS 50th CELEBRATION
OPEN HOUSE AUGUST 2nd
9:00am to 4:00pm
In the last article highlighting the progress of Henderson Cooperative Telephone Company d/b/a Mainstay Communications, we were just entering the IP age starting with a plan to go all fiber to the home.
In 2001, Mainstay Communications hired Van Hoet and Company chartered as our auditor and consultant. We changed from Average Schedule to a Cost Company. The advantage of going to a Cost Company was to receive Federal Universal Service Funds (FUSF) that would help to upgrade our facilities to Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and give us a constant rate of return. That same year the Coop applied for and received a 3.5 million RUS loan to replace the copper cable outside plant in the rural areas to fiber within 12,000 feet of rural homes and replace the town copper cable with fiber to the home. The fiber within 12,000 feet of rural homes rural was completed in 2002.
In 2002, Mainstay Communications applied for and received a Grant from the USDA in the amount of $200,000 to be used as a revolving loan fund for economic development projects. The project specified was for equipment and building a new clinic for the Henderson Community Hospital.
In June 2004, Mainstay Communications sold the DirecTV business, exclusive area, and subscribers to DirecTV.
In 2007, Mainstay Communications provided satellite internet services called WildBlue via a satellite dish to rural homes. This was another first for internet service to be provided to the rural area outside of our exchange via satellite. WildBlue satellite internet service was not as fast as Mainstay Communications Fiber to the Home but it did fill a need at the time for rural homes outside our exchange.
In 2008, Mainstay Communications applied for and received a Grant from USDA in the amount of $300,000 to be used as a revolving loan fund for economic development projects specifically for the hospital. Between these two grants, the hospital has been able to borrow over one million dollars at 1% since 2002 for their construction and equipment needs using the funds granted from the USDA to Mainstay Communications.
In 2008, the Fiber to the Home project in town was complete. That same year, Mainstay Communications applied for and received a $3.5 million RUS loan to replace the copper cable outside plant in the rural areas to complete the fiber to the rural homes. The fiber to the rural homes was completed in 2012. By 2012, Mainstay Communications had Fiber to the Home to every single home and business in town and in the rural farming community. Henderson with their Fiber to The Home had high speed internet that larger cities did not have.
In 2014, we replaced the Northern Telcome DMS-10 digital switch used for phone calling with a new C15 Internet Protocol (IP) packet switch. The new C15 IP switch can route calls either by digital trunks or by IP packets over the internet.
In 2015, Mainstay Communications shut down their Cable TV system and were able to work a business plan with Hamilton Telephone Company out of Aurora to be agents for their Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) called Cobalt TV. This was a very significant achievement for Mainstay Communications to replace our aging Cable TV system which was still analog to IP TV. We went from an outdated Cable TV system to a state of the art Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) running over our fiber to each home in our exchange. The rural homes could now have multi-channel TV without having a TV dish. In 2015, we completed two diverse internet backbone routes going west and south out of Henderson. With separate routes Mainstay Communications will have an internet connection in the event one of the routes is not working either from a cut or equipment failure.
In 2018, we completed a toll and 911 diverse routes to Sutton giving Mainstay the ability to complete calls either through York or Sutton. As we celebrate our 50th year serving the Henderson Community, we look forward to what new technologies and opportunities are going to take place over the next 50 years.
I hope you have enjoyed reading some of the highlights of the Telephone Company and come see us at our open house August 2nd.
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