Farmers Telephone Company
of Batavia, Iowa
A Brief History of the Telephone Company
- 1885 - The first telephone was installed in the Theodore Hill Drug Store. This was the only telephone in Batavia intil 1889 when A.V. Beeman, who operated a furniture store and funeral home, had telephones installed in his home and store so he could call home and see when supper would be ready.
- 1905 - The Batavia Telephone Company was organized and granted permission by the town to put up poles and wires. A cordboard was purchased and located in the old Stever Home and later was moved to a buildiong on Main Street. This building burned in 1919.
- 1919 - A Franchise was granted to Farmers Telephone Company, who purchased the existing plant from the Batavia Telephone Company.
- 1934 - A connection to the Bell Telephone System provided long distance service to the Batavia subscribers.
- 1954 - Conversion from magneto to rotary dial.
- 1966 - A new building was constructed at 3rd and Collins Street to house a new 150 line North NX2A Common Control Switch. 100% touch tone dialling was installed, and the rural lines were upgraded from 8 to 4-party, with some private lines.
- 1976 - An REA loan provided for all-buried, filled cable plant, conversion to 100% single party lines and "one-plus" long distance dialing for all subscribers.
- 1984 - Conversion from manual billing to a computer billing system.
- 1988 - A new headquarters building and switching center was constructed at Hwy 34 and Davis Street.
- 1989 - A Northern Telcom Digital Switching System was cut into service, with custom calling provided to all subscribers at no additional charge. Long Distance Equal Access through Iowa Network Services was also offered to all subscribers.
- 1990 - Farmers Telephone Company turned up the first Cellular RSA in Iowa, and one of the first in the nation, in a joint venture with United States Cellular.
- 1993 - Farmers Telephone Company formed a subsidiary, Iowa Rural TV, to provide wireless cable television to a 40 mile radius around Batavia. The service includes 3 local television channels to an area where normal off-air reception is poor.
- 1995 and beyond - Plans include:
- A major upgrade of the digital switch
- SS7 signaling capability
- 100% fiber optic toll network
- Fiber in the local plant to provide high speed digital services to all subscribers.
Batavia, Iowa is located on Highway 34, midway between Ottumwa and Fairfield, and along an Amtrak line. The city offers water, sewer, natural gas, wired CATV, wireless CATV, and wired and cellular telephone service.
Batavia is an ideal bedroom town for persons working in Ottumwa or Fairfield. Batavia is mainly a farming community, with several seed corn dealers. Manufacturing in the area include John Deere, Excel, and Evercoe in Ottumwa, and Rockwell and Dexter in Fairfield.
Indian Hills Community College is nearby in Ottumwa and the Cardinal school district serves the area. Batavia has a new truckstop/convenience store, a remodeled post office, active lions club, masons, Eastern Star, TTT club, and five churches in the greater community.
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