Company History

Telephones were first installed in Palo in 1903. They used a hand crank ringer on the switchboard, then when electricity came to Palo in 1917, they began to use an electric ringer. Operators were on duty from 5:00AM until 10:00 PM, seven days a week with hours off on Sundays. The switchboard had a night alarm and the operator lived in the building. She gave “line rings” to announce special events and she also called the “fire alarms” besides serving the Palo Telephone customers and those on rural lines. The Palo Mutual Telephone Company was incorporated in 1920,with an elected Board conducting the business affairs of the switchboard and building.

On July 13, 1956 the current Palo Cooperative Telephone Association, was incorporated. The land was purchased across the alley, between First and Second Streets from the switchboard site, and a small cement block building was erected to house the new dial equipment. The dial system was in operation by 1957. When construction began in 1969 for Iowa’s only nuclear power facility, the Duane Arnold Energy Center, north of Palo, the Telephone Association signed a contract with Iowa Electric Light & Power Co, to provide telephone service to the facility.

Presently,  service is provided over dedicated fiber cable, dedicated trunks, business access lines as well as maintenance of a 1000+ line PBX. In Feb 1973 Toll free service was installed to Cedar Rapids. Significant advances were made in 1983 when the Cooperative went to all private line and touch tone service. In 1991 the Cooperative purchased the cable vision system in the City of Palo In 2002 the Cooperative was able to offer (DSL) high speed internet. In 2012 Fiber optics started replacing the copper cable plant, in addition to a new Central Office to house the equipment. By 2014 the entire exchange including the rural had been updated to fiber optics also known as Fiber to the home (FTTH).