This year marks Smithville’s 100th year of service! We’re looking forward to celebrating all year long. Here’s a brief history of the last century of connections:
While today Smithville is nationally recognized as a top 100 broadband company, we had some humble beginnings. Smithville was started by connecting remote quarries in southern Indiana. The limestone quarry business was huge a century ago. Major quarries shared equipment, personnel and other resources. Since they were often many miles apart, it was tough to coordinate production. That is, until J.K. Johnson, one of our company historical figures, decided to deploy then-start-of-the-technology. Through a company founded in tiny Smithville, Indiana he linked together a number of quarry and mineral operations in southern Indiana in 1922!
Guy Draper acquired Johnson’s company in 1933, and we were on our way. Smithville has been a family-owned business since then, which has benefited the state of Indiana in a number of ways. Over time, Smithville acquired various small rural telephone exchanges. That set the stage for some remarkable innovation a few decades later.
About fifty years ago, Smithville met a tough challenge. Rural telephone service was not an enterprise for the faint-hearted. It was expensive, challenging and difficult to operate rural telephone services in southern Indiana, especially with a then lack of utility infrastructure, including passable roads. As owners, the Draper family decided it was time to take the lead about two things: serious customer service and providing the best in technology.
Smithville was the first in the state to introduce high-speed fiber connectivity in the 1990s. Back then we also established the Indiana Digital Gateway, a first, particularly for an independent Indiana company. As the Indianapolis Star reported in July 1993, Smithville was the first to create a fiber network to serve K-12 schools. As the headline read, “Fiber Optic links schools, vastly increases their capability.”
In 2006 we embarked on an aggressive plan to upgrade customers to fiber optics, which was almost unheard of at the time. Since then we’ve continued to invest in fiber optic technology for residents, businesses, and cities.
This year we’re looking back at how our technology has advanced while looking forward to the future. We know there are many stories from 100 years of service and we’d love to hear yours! Use #Smithville100 to share your stories, memories, and quotes on social media from the last 100 years. Thank you to our team of constant innovators and do-ers and a special thanks to our loyal customers. We wouldn’t be here without you.