Marne Elk Horn Telephone Company History
Marne Elk Horn Telephone Company is based in Elk Horn, Iowa and provides reliable, affordable and high quality communications and entertainment services. Over the course of 100+ years, METC has experienced many changes in the evolving world of technology, but we have continued to learn, grow and offer exceptional service to assure that our customers will continue to stay connected. We are your local connection to it all.
The Marne & Elk Horn Telephone Co. was officially incorporated in February of 1903, although the first organization meeting was held in December of 1902. The first meeting was held at the Clay Center School where the first officers were elected. The first principal place of business of the Company was Rorbeck, and was later moved to Elk Horn. The first line was strung from Marne to Elk Horn via Rorbeck--hence the name became the Marne & Elk Horn Telephone Company. Kimballton received service in 1904 and Brayton was added next.
Most people would not think a community of 650 residents would be home to one of the most progressive rural phone companies in the state. When the larger towns were still on party lines, Elk Horn residents were enjoying our own private calls. This company has allowed many of the small businesses in town to prosper and grow due to outstanding service. They provided fiber optics to our school when county seat towns were just thinking about it.
METC has been providing quality telecommunications services to their customers for over 100 years. They have always provided state of the art technology along with personalized customer service. Marne Elk Horn is a part owner in two cellular partnerships and Iowa Network Services. They give their customers the most current services at reasonable rates. The business offices are located in Elk Horn, Iowa, just 7 miles North of Interstate 80 and home of the Danish Windmill and Danish Immigrant Museum.
In 2012, METC began an aggressive multi-year build out of fiber optics to each home and business. Fiber Optics provide ultra-high speed Internet enabling customers to work from home and operate businesses world-wide. Fiber is also an economic development tool for our rural communities. The project was completed in 2017.
In October of 2016, METC completed the purchase of Walnut Communications - headquartered in Walnut, IA, which serves many communities farther west. Each company has maintained it's unique brand and staff, but the staffs work together on many projects to gain efficiencies and cost savings for the benefit of customers and shareholders.
The Company employs 11 full-time people who live and work in their communities. The Company is a locally-owned, shareholder corporation with an active board of directors that believes in promoting the communities it serves.
Marne Elk Horn Timeline (1903 – 2014)
December 1902 - First Organizational Meeting
January 1903 - Officially Incorporated
February 1903 - Purchased first switchboards for Elk Horn, Marne and Rorbeck
January 1904 - Purchased switchboard for Kimballton
June 1903 - First loan made in the amount of $1,000.00 at 6% interest
January 1904 - Voted to extend lines from Elk Horn to Exira
January 1909-First manager, Harold Johnson, was hired
1913-Added telephone service in Brayton
1915-First automobile purchased by the Company
1921-Wall phone rates were $21.00 per year and desk phones were $24.00 per year
1940-Fred Sorensen hired as General Manager
1950’s-Dial Equipment installed which took the place of the Telephone Operators
1956-Howard Sorensen hired as General Manager
1960’s-Introduced Direct Distance Dialing faster toll service as well as lower long distance rates
1970’s-Private lines were introduced and also push button dialing
1982-Marne Elk Horn Telephone installed Cable TV service in the towns of Elk Horn, Kimballton, Brayton & Marne
July 1990-Cellular Service by U.S. West was added (currently Verizon)
April 1995-Purchased Exira Cable TV system from Douglas Cable
June 1996-The Board of Directors agreed to purchase Internet equipment from Iowa Network Services
May 1998-It was decided to begin the remodeling project of the business office in Elk Horn
December 1998-Howard Sorensen retired as General Manager with Janell Hansen succeeding him
January 1999-Marne Elk Horn became their own long distance provider
March 1999-Business office moved into the newly remodeled area
2000-Installed DSL equipment to offer High Speed Internet
February 6, 2001-Marne Elk Horn became their own Internet Service Provider becoming METC
August 2001-Brought Wireless High Speed Internet to Atlantic
January 2002-Marne Elk Horn begins the celebration of 100 years of service
December 2002-Recognized by Iowa Department of Economic Development as a Century Business
January 2003-Brought Wireless High Speed Internet to Exira
May 2003-Began construction of new storage shed on Union Street
April 2003-Began burying new cable and copper in Exira in preparation for bringing telephone service to the area
April 2004-Upgraded CATV Head End Equipment in Elk Horn office
October 2005-Brought telephone service to Exira
June 2006-Ground breaking for Bornholm Condominiums in Elk Horn
December 2006-High Definition Channels added to cable television line-up
September 2007-Launched the Local Channel
October 2007-Major upgrade completed of the cable television system for all exchanges
September 2008-Final 1st phase Bornholm condominium sold
October 2009-Started 2nd phase of Bornholm Condominiums
April 2010-Installed Digital CATV System in Elk Horn, Kimballton, Brayton, Marne & Exira
2011-Began Rural Brayton FTTH construction
August 2012-Began Marne Rural and City FTTH construction
June 2012-Discontinued Verizon Cellular Agency
January 2013-Final 2nd phase Bornholm condominium sold
June 2013-Began Elk Horn city FTTH construction
May 2014-Began Elk Horn rural FTTH construction