The first telephone line in Putnam County was installed April 4, 1896. It was installed by Abel Mills and his sons on Quaker Lane, just outside the Village of McNabb, Illinois. The line was one and a half miles in length. Trees were cut from the Southerland Timber and used as poles to install the lines.
It took five and a half days to install the one and a half miles of wire. Not long after this, lines were added connecting 10 central offices which included: McNabb, Lostant, Tonica, Leonore, Granville, Ford, Hennepin, Cedar Point, Wenona, and Magnolia.
The Central Office was moved from Abel Mills residence into McNabb, and was organized as McNabb Telephone Company. McNabb received its first charter on July 3, 1901, and began selling shares of stock @ $30 per share to all persons in and around McNabb who had telephones. A board consisting of 9 directors was elected to organize, build, and direct the company. The company at this time had 125 subscribers.
The Directors first job was to set up rules and guidelines for telephone subscribers. They were as follows:
- Rule #1: A subscriber could make calls to a doctor or undertaker at any time.
- Rule #2: If a subscriber used profane language or became unruly, he could be disconnected.
- Rule #3: No calls can be made on Sundays from April to December between the hours of 7:30 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
In 1924, McNabb Telephone Company ran a line to meet with Granville Telephone Company.
In 1931, telephone access rates were as follows:
- $15/year for Party Lines
- $25/year for 2-Party Lines
- $35/year for a Private Line
In 1967, the directors voted to install a new Analog Step Switch and go all one-party service.
In 1985, the directors voted in favor of entering into the world of cable T.V. and formed a second corporation called McNabb Cable & Satellite Inc.
In 1996, another subsidiary was formed and called McNabb Long Distance, Inc. The company would compete with all the large carriers; AT&T, Sprint, MCI, etc.
In 1996, a holding company was formed and called McNabb Communications, Inc.
In 1999, an Internet affiliate was formed and called McNabb Internet Connections, Inc. It would be one of the first companies in the area to offer High Speed DSL to their telephone subscribers.
In 2005, McNabb Internet Connections started offering Wild Blue, a satellite Internet service reaching out to rural America for those customers who did not have access to high speed Internet. In 2011 Viasat bought Wild Blue and became Exede Satellite Internet. We currently offer Exede Satellite Internet to rural America.
We are proud to be a part of the McNabb Community, and strive to be a full service provider of communication to all who live in and around the community.
Today, McNabb Telephone Company continues to look for ways to be successful in a very competitive environment.