We have often wondered if the pioneers for Peoples Telephone had any idea the impact their decisions would have in the lives of their East Texas neighbors. These visionaries had the goal of connecting neighbor-to-neighbor, but laid the foundation to connect rural east Texas to the world.
Throughout the years and the vast changes in technology, we remain committed to the original vision of Peoples to provide quality communications and technology services to enhance the lives of our cooperative members. Although you know us as Peoples, we have very different and diverse product lines, each with their own history.
Peoples Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Organized in 1952, Peoples Telephone continues to provide dependable, high quality telephone service in Wood County and beyond. In 1953, the Golden exchange was bought from Mr. and Mrs. G. A. Mason, with the first pole line being raised August 13th of the same year. With the aid of government funds made possible under the Rural Electrification Act, Peoples began with 263 members in five exchanges. By 1960, subscribership had reached 1,000 and two more exchanges had been added. By January of 1978, all 3,314 members had one-party service.
In 1981, the Yantis exchange became the first “digital” office of the Cooperative, replacing the “mechanical” step-offices. This was the first in a long line of central office upgrades that strengthened Management’s resolve to provide state-of-the-art telecommunications services to all members. Since 1987, Peoples has been operating as a digital company.
Peoples Communication, Inc.
In 1982, Peoples Communication, Inc. (PCI) was organized to provide additional services that could not be handled through the telephone cooperative, due to state and federal regulation. These services include long distance, voice mail, high-speed internet, and security and medical alarm services. PCI also provides the fiber optic cable connecting Peoples Telephone’s central offices. This fiber also connects subscribing schools to ET-LINC, a distance-learning consortium that connects schools across East Texas. In 2009, PCI began offering high-speed wireless internet service (WiMax) to unserved residents living outside of the cooperative footprint who were previously ineligible for high-speed internet service. Early 2012 marked the addition of LTE services to compliment the fixed wireless WiMax offering and expand the wireless internet offering.
Peoples offers fixed wireless broadband, Ignyte, in areas that are not served with our traditional DSL and landline service. This unlimited Internet service is available in 21 East Texas communities.
Peoples Network for East Texas
On August 18, 2010, Peoples Telephone became the recipient of a federal grant to lay over 600 miles of fiber optic cable throughout East Texas. This fiber network will provide the backbone to provide internet connectivity to industrial, medical and educational facilities spanning over 13 counties. In certain areas, Peoples will not only provide the fiber network, but will also be able to offer the end-user connection as well. The new fiber network will position Peoples to face the dramatically changing industry of telecommunications.
What does it mean to be a cooperative?
Peoples Telephone Cooperative is owned by the members—you, who buy our goods and use our services. Being a cooperative means we are wholly democratically controlled by you, the member, on a one-member, one-vote basis – meaning everyone has an equal voice regardless of equity share. Our board is made up of co-op members and elected by the members. Your board members are directly accountable to you through the nomination and election procedures. As an owner of the cooperative, any surplus revenues earned by the co-op that are not reinvested are returned to you based on your patronage.
Peoples Telephone Cooperative focuses on member needs while working for the economic development of communities thru new services. The co-op works hand in hand with local, regional and national structures to accomplish our mission of providing quality communications and technology services to enhance your life.
Board of Directors
Johnny Ziegler, Board President – 878 Exchange (Dry Creek)
Bob Clopton – 383 Exchange (Yantis)
Doug Cameron – 967 Exchange (Jim Hogg)
Rocky Christenberry – 588 Exchange (Glade Branch)
Bill Galyean II – 768 Exchange (Golden)
Mark Johnson – 860 Exchange (Cypress Springs)
Mike Fowler – 862 Exchange (Campbell)
Pete Gibson – 365 Exchange (Wynne)
Rodney Whitter – 629 Exchange (Sandy Creek)