What Is an Independent Phone Company?

When they hear the words “Telephone Company,” many people think of the “Baby Bells” that were once part of AT&T. They do not realize that there are more than 1,300 independent telephone companies operating in the United States, companies that never were part of the former Bell System.

Independent telephone companies serve primarily rural areas. Many independents are small family-owned businesses, while others are subscriber-owned cooperatives. Generally these companies serve one or more small communities, providing telephone service to anywhere from fewer than 100 to several thousand customers.

Bringing the Future to Rural America

They may be small and located in non-metropolitan areas, but independent telephone companies provide quality, state-of-the-art service using the most modern technology. Fiber optic cable and digital switching equipment are common even among the smallest independents.

Independent telephone companies are an important part of the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure, connecting rural areas to the national network at regional toll switches. By connecting their telephone network to these switches, calls may be placed from and directed to the customers of the telephone company to the benefit of all Americans, both rural and urban.

These companies also play a vital role in their local communities, providing jobs and local leadership. Often the local independent telephone company is key to the economic development efforts of the community. And independents’ commitment to quality service is unmatched. The employees live in the community; their customers are also their friends and neighbors.

With state-of-the-art technology and a strong dedication to the communities they serve, the nation’s small independent telephone companies are “Bringing the Future to Rural America.”