"We are enjoying our new system. The men were excellent in their installing."
We have provided the community with affordable and reliable telecommunications services for years.
And during that time, we've learned a lot about what you need today, what you are going to want tomorrow . . . and more importantly how we can deliver solutions to enhance your quality of life.
Supplying you with cutting edge technology is only a fraction of what we're all about.
As your local telephone company, we pride ourselves on our historical ties to the community and believe that our humble beginnings are the key to our future success.
Below you can find information about the history of the companies that make up RC Family of Companies
The roots of RC Family of Companies – originally beginning with the telephone cooperative – go back to 1907. In Effington, SD, an initial meeting was held in the Woodman Hall to establish an organization that would bring telephone service to the area. Originally the project of local farmers, the organization was called Roberts County Farmers’ Cooperative Telephone Company. In addition to paying $50.00 for a share of stock, contributors were expected to assist in the building of the phone line. They would then pay about one dollar per month for telephone service. Several years after the organization’s birth, construction of a much-anticipated railroad a few miles north of Effington prompted the entire town – telephone company included – to pick up and move closer to the railroad site. The town then became known as New Effington.
The original telephone system worked suitably until 1949 when a board was elected to begin working on a new dial system. The newly-named board consisted of Alvin Arneson, Albert Schultz, Norman Foeltz, Gust Weinkauf, and Idan Peterson. Developing the new technology proved to be a daunting task, but an REA loan of $264,000 was eventually secured. “They said we’d never make it,” said Gust Weinkauf, a founding father of the telephone co-op. “But we did. And it got bigger!” To help shoulder the substantial labor required by the project, four additional men were appointed to the board: H.A. Stenson, Ole Hammer, Leonard Koll, and William Anderson. Despite a heavy commitment of time, planning, and driving, the many people who contributed to the new system did so as volunteers. Finally, in the fall of 1956, a new eight-party telephone system was put into service.
The co-op, which by 1956 had incorporated as Roberts County Telephone Cooperative Association of New Effington, SD, continued pressing forward, working out of the basement of a local bank. In 1963, a building on New Effington’s Main Street was purchased, and RCTCA moved its headquarters to where it currently resides, along with the administrative offices of RC Family of Companies. The building has been remodeled several times, with the latest renovation involving the purchase and razing of a neighboring hardware store to make room for a new addition.
RCTCA had a banner year in 1971 as a phone system upgrade to one-party service was completed. Throughout 1980 and 1981, RCTCA brought touch-tone service to all of its customers and finished the burying of its facilities in New Effington and Claire City. Six years later in 1987, these exchanges were transferred to the newly installed Nortel DMS-10 digital switches. Storage facilities were built in New Effington in 1988 and 2001, but the older warehouse has since been remodeled as a television headend and office space. In 1990, 24 miles of fiber optic cable were buried. Presently, fiber has been deployed to within 12,000 feet of each customer.
In 1996, a subsidiary, RC Communications, was formed when RCTCA purchased four exchanges from U.S. West (now Qwest). These exchanges – Veblen, Peever, Wilmot, and Summit, SD – added around 1,500 access lines and, following the acquisition, were updated with state-of-the-art switches and fiber-to-the-node technology.
In the mid-1990’s, the Internet was beginning to flourish as people recognized the technology’s boundless potential. RC Technologies responded in 1996 by offering dial-up Internet access, though initially only in the telephone exchanges. In 1997, however, RC Technologies began offering the service to Milbank, SD, residents. Then, in 1999, after acquiring customers from a local ISP, dial-up service became available in Watertown, SD. DSL technology (or high-speed Internet service) was implemented in January 2002 and, by July 2005, every customer within RC’s six telephone exchanges was eligible to receive DSL service.
In 2003, RC Technologies created a new Cable TV division called RCTv to serve the New Effington, Veblen, Wilmot, and Summit exchanges. Then, in 2005, RCTv purchased wireless cable provider North East Rural Television Cooperative, adding about 700 new customers. In the acquisition, RC Technologies assumed control of BRS (Broadband Radio Service) spectrum and two wireless cable towers, one in Kranzburg, SD, and one in Sisseton, SD.
Beginning June 2008, RCTv cable customers were cut-over to new set top boxes to receive RC's new digital television service. This service is delivered on a wireless spectrum that has never been used to provide MPEG 4 digital television. Broadband Internet service is also being delivered over the same spectrum.
In 2004, RC Communications received a Rural Utilities Service grant to bring broadband Internet and Cable services to Corona, SD, a small rural town located just outside of the Wilmot exchange. Corona’s telephone customers have historically been served by Qwest. As of 2006, Corona has the option of receiving their voice service through RC Services, a CLEC division of RC Communications, serving Qwest exchanges. With RC Communications having deployed fiber-to-the-home in Corona, residents are now eligible for the triple play bundle of voice, data, and video services.