US Small Business Administration-Office of Rural Affairs features Minburn CommunicationsJul 23, 2020
Outreach & Marketing Specialist, Office of Rural Affairs
Small Busines ...
On January 1, 2019, Minburn Communications automatically upgraded all broadband customer to symmetrical service as a new standard. Shortly thereafter, office staff moved into the new Corporate Office located at 100 S. Main, Woodward, IA. A community-wide Ribbon Cutting and Open House was held where several new programs and services were introduced including an Investor Relations campaign featuring a new Shareholder Portal and new Video Entertainment TV features and enhancements.
The fiber ring was completed in 2018 and made fully redundant from Minburn to the Perry Central Office. An additional 12-miles of fiber was constructed west of Perry. To accommodate growth, the old Woodward office building was demolished and a new corporate building was constructed.
2017 marked the year Minburn Communications received its first Impact Award for their involvement in state certification of the city of Perry's 34-acre Industrial Park and the city of Woodward's 186-acre Eco-Park. At the end of the year, the company had 232 fiber route miles.
Minburn Communications converted the Woodward exchange from Copper facilities to Fiber To The Home. This 4.7 million dollar project was completed in 2015, bringing us one step closer to the goal of Gig service in all of our fiber areas.
In 2014 construction of fiber to 150 businesses in Perry was completed. These enhancements allowed our company to increase broadband Internet speeds and 100Mbps service was introduced to fiber customers. A third fixed wireless Internet tower was added to our rural network. Service is now available to customers living in and around the communities of Bouton, Dallas Center and northern rural Adel.
In the fall of 2013, the company constructed a fiber optic network to 140 businesses in Perry. This construction allows us to provide voice, broadband and video service to an entirely new customer base. Wireless antenna equipment was installed on two sites in Dallas County for fixed wireless Internet service. – In April 2013 our Minburn office became the second Village Post Office (VPO) in the State of Iowa.
Three-quarters of a mile of fiber was constructed from our Woodward facilities through state property into the Woodward State Hospital in January 2012. Minburn Communications began providing TV service to the resident cottages located at the Hospital.
In November 2011, we partnered with a neighboring telephone company to purchase a new middleware solution for our IPTV service, allowing us to provide significantly better service as well as many new features.
In 2010 Fiber to The Home was installed in the Minburn, town and rural exchange which gave customers access to voice, multimedia, and data services over one unified transport. An application to the Department of Agriculture for a Rural Utility Service (RUS) loan for the project was submitted in April. Construction of the fiber began on July 6th and ended for the year on December 22nd. In November, a newGenBand Softswitch was installed to provide voice enhancements plus additional services. The softswitch replaced the Nortel DMS10 Host/Remote Switch.
In 2009 new enhanced mobile web and Blackberry service allowed Dallas Co. Wireless customers access to the web, email and other data services on their mobile cellular phones. Minburn Cablevision saw some changes when the FCC declared the analog radio spectrum should be vacated. Iowa broadcasters joined others nationwide as part of the Federal Communications Commission Order in discontinuing their analog transmissions. Along with the removal of analog, stations in Des Moines and Ames now required payment to carry their broadcast signal that had previously been free. This made it necessary to increase cable TV monthly subscriber rates.
In 2008 the new Woodward office at 100 S. Main was opened. General Manager Ron Flam retired after 24 years of service. Ron had replaced Darrel Cornelison in 1984. Assistant Manager Debra Lucht became the new General Manager. The four year fiber ring construction was completed; voice and data service now ran on a redundant network. Unfortunately, it was not completed before the floods in early spring which flooded the Raccoon River and washed out a mile section of the main fiber connection. Also in 2008, Dallas Co. Wireless, Inc. was granted Competitive Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (CETC) status by the FCC this allowed Dallas Co. Wireless to receive settlements from Universal Support Fund, the same as land line companies
In 2007 the directive of the FCC in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 required local exchange carriers to open their networks to local competition. Customer could now port a wire line number to another wire line carrier or a wireless number to another wireless carrier. The fiber project continued in Woodward with an additional 6 miles of fiber being installed and the City of Woodward approved a cable television franchise to be granted to Minburn Cablevision.
In 2006 Debra Lucht was hired as Assistant Manager. Additional Fiber was installed to a proposed housing development on the south edge of Woodward. Also in 2006, Dallas County Wireless was formed when an agreement was signed with Iwireless to be able to provide personal communication service in the Minburn and Woodward service area. Two cell sites were installed, one on the Woodward water tower and one on the Heartland Coop elevator in Minburn.
In 2004 the Iowa Utilities Board ruled all telecommunication companies to be LNP (Local Number Portability) compliant by April 1st. All Switching hardware and software associated with LNP was installed. Trading Partner profiles were exchanged with wireless carriers to allow the exchanges of local phone numbers.
In 2003 boundary lines were extended with Qwest at the F-31 and R-22 intersection half way between Minburn and Granger which is home to the Woodland Hills housing development. Seven miles of fiber optic cable was installed in order to serve those new customers.
In 2000, a report of no ‘Y2K’ bugs was made. That year the Central Iowa Cellular interest was sold. Stocks split 100 to 1 and $1.00 per share was paid in dividends. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) high speed Internet service was offered over existing copper lines. In 2002 Emergency Alert System (EAS) service was installed to give EAS warnings over the cable system. And in 2003, there were 124 stockholders on record.
In 1999, the Woodward exchange was purchased from Rochester Telephone Corporation, Rochester, NY and the subsidiary was named Minburn Telecommunications, Inc. The Woodward Mutual Telephone Company was founded in February, 1902. It merged with People’s Mutual Telephone Company in 1917, was purchased by the Schuyler Telephone Company in 1985 and the Rochester Telephone Corporation in 1990. In 1999 fiber was installed between Minburn and Woodward and new cable was installed in Woodward in 2001.
In 1989 construction began and cable television service was offered to the community of Minburn under the name Minburn Cablevision, Inc. Also that year the by-laws were rewritten to reflect a corporate, rather than a mutual, structure. New stock certificates were issued to 86 stockholders. One hundred and twenty customers were billed the first month.
In 1987 Nixon Engineering was hired to replace 17 miles of outside plant and make preparations to convert to a digital switch. Stomberg Carlson central office equipment was purchased for $254,224. The cutover was completed on July 7, 1988. This new equipment allowed, among other things, custom calling features and 911 calling. An REA loan was received for $388,000. Stock was purchased in Iowa Network Services enabling customers to choose their long distance carrier.
In 1985 the first rate increase was initiated since 1965; $1.00 per month interstate access charge. In 1986, the cutover for Central Iowa Cellular was done.
In 1980, a steel warehouse was erected and hands free phones were offered. A third dividend was declared at $25 per share. In 1984, the office building was remodeled and the roof was replaced. 18,000 foot of cable was replaced. A cellular mobile telephone license was granted in partnership with Panora Coop Telephone Company, Interstate 35 Telephone Company, Woodward Telephone Company, Prairie Telephone Company and Huxley Coop Telephone. The partnership was called Central Iowa Cellular. That same year, a bid was placed to purchase Woodward Telephone Company. And in 2003, there were 124 stockholders on records.
In 1973, equipment was installed for direct long distance dialing and in 1977 touchtone equipment was installed. TSPS equipment was installed for customer credit card direct dial calls. Dividends were again declared at $15.00 per share.
In 1964, the Articles of Incorporation were amended to change the name from Minburn Mutual Telephone Company to Minburn Telephone Company. On June 29, 1965, there was a cutover and open house held in the new brick building on the southeast corner of Chestnut and Baker Streets. Free service was offered between Minburn and Perry and rates were increased to $5.20 per month. In 1966, the first stock dividend was declared at $3.00 per share.
In 1963, the Rural Electric Association (REA) approved a loan for $200,000 to convert the system to an all-buried, single-party telephone exchange, making Minburn one of the first in the United States. At that time, there were 80 stockholders.
In 1957, Bouton & Woodward were included in the Minburn directory.
In 1955 bathroom stalls were installed in the office. In 1956, 210 new poles were purchased as the old ones had been destroyed by fire. At that time, phone rent was $2.25 per month.
Records from 1932 and 1933 show an operator’s salary to be $25 per month and the manager’s salary was $75 per month. Phone rent was $12 per year (3 months in advance). In 1940, rent increased to $15 per year.
On January 16, 1928, there were 78 stockholders of record at the Annual Meeting. There were 97 phones in use in the town of Minburn and 220 in the country. Two dollars per share was assessed to pay off the loan. Also in 1928, the contract to install underground cable in Minburn was awarded to J.C. Lake. Trenching was done by hand spade. Equipment was obtained by Kellog Switchboard Supply Company. Total cost of construction and equipment was $1,466.72
In 1923 Iowa had the highest per capita rate of telephones in the country at 18.9 per 100 population as compared to the national average of 13.1. Iowa had more telephones than Italy, Belgium, Australia and Switzerland combined.
On January 3, 1903 local businessmen and farmers founded the Minburn Mutual Telephone Company. The first magneto switchboard was located downstairs in Basart’s drugstore, the Minburn Pharmacy and later moved upstairs. The drugstore was located on the north side of Chestnut Street in the 500 block. Stockholders purchased and installed wire and poles for the system.