Farmers Mutual Telephone System was organized in 1905. At that time, the Bell Telephone Company was already operating in Moulton. Some families had two telephones, one on each system and they could call anyone on either system. The people who had only one phone had to call “Central” to be switched to the other company to talk to subscribers on that line.
In 1916, Farmers Mutual purchased the Bell Company interests in the Moulton area. In 1960, Farmers Mutual purchased the M&M Telephone Company from the Mark and Monterey area consisting of about 40 members.
1961 brought change to the Farmers Mutual telephone system. The company switched to a automatic dial system which was the first such type in Appanoose County. They laid 140 miles of underground cable, built a new telephone office and equipped it with new switching equipment. The EAS line to Udell and Unionville, Iowa was established in 1962 allowing everyone in the Moulton-Udell school system to be able to call everyone with no toll charges. The company installed all single party lines in 1978.
Farmers Mutual buried fiber optic cable to all its customer’s premises in 2008. Customers began to switch over to the fiber system in early 2009. The company increased its broadband internet to 100% of its customer base with the switch to the fiber system. In July 2009, the company began to offer video services using an IPTV video system through their partnership with Iowa Network Services.
Farmers Mutual Cooperative Telephone Company is trying to meet the growing demands of their customer base. Technology is rapidly changing and their dedication to keeping up with the change is evidenced by their investment and commitment to their customers.
(Left to Right) Tammy Wheeler - General Manager, Nancy Haas - Customer Service Representative, and Jesse Replogle - CO and OP Technician
A telephone cooperative is a type of cooperative whose purpose is the delivery of telephone service to a its members. Profits are either reinvested for improvements to the network or are distributed to members in the form of "capital credits", which are essentially dividends paid on a member's investment into the cooperative.
Each member is an owner of the business with an equal say as every other member of the cooperative, unlike investor-owned utilities where the amount of say is governed by the number of shares held.