Have you noticed your town is growing? Maybe new businesses are popping up, or maybe there are more visitors on the weekends. Could it be that more and more people have found mentions of how special your town is on the internet and have come to see for themselves? This is the case for many rural Texan communities in the past few years and the impact has been substantial. Sales tax and revenues are reaching higher records than ever before and a lot of this growth can be attributed to revolutionary internet access. CTTC is excited to share the stories of customers that are having a big impact in a central Texas community!

We all might admire the new building going up in the lot next door, or the new development of houses in our neighborhoods, but have you considered the benefits of restoring historic buildings? The small town of San Saba certainly has! The town is currently revitalizing its downtown scene but instead of tearing down history, new businesses are refreshing the older buildings that have stood tall since San Saba’s establishment in 1854. The following new businesses are reinvigorating East Wallace Street – a heavily trafficked road in downtown San Saba where Highway 16 and Highway 290 intersect. 

“CTTC was wonderful in helping install fiber into our older, historic building.”

-Terra Gardner, Switch Boutique

Bard & Hallow

Meet the Harts, Logan an original Austinite and Uriah a born Alaskan who each carry a love for all things nostalgic. These are the founders of San Saba’s newest downtown addition – Bard & Hallow. After leaving long careers in other fields, the couple came together to start a fine antique & architectural salvage store based in San Saba, TX. In admiration of how the Nettleship and Jordan families have restored structures of San Saba’s history, developing them into vital parts of the local community, the Harts have similar dreams for Bard & Hallow. So far, they have seen a very fruitful seven months since opening their doors. San Saba and neighboring communities love the antique furniture, unique art, and home goods sold in Bard & Hallow. The future is bright for this new business.

Switch Boutique

Entering San Saba’s downtown scene around the same time as Bard & Hallow was Switch Boutique. Switch is another realization of a lifelong dream, this time belonging to Terra Gardner. This entrepreneur was no stranger to restoration after turning an empty 100-year-old building into a town sensation upon her first boutique’s opening in Goldthwaite in 2019. Expanding to San Saba in 2021 was a no-brainer after recognizing the compatible market, supportive community, and necessary business foundations in town. Switch Boutique provides modern style for all ages, shapes, & sizes! Their trendy clothes, fashionable jewelry, and stylish shoes have been very well received by the ladies in town and Terra is excited to be a part of the team effort working to advance San Saba’s revitalization progress.

Pecan House Grill

Pecan House Grill needs no introduction. Owner Clay Nettleship and General Manager Amber Everett transformed a downtown building with a rich history into one of the most successful restaurants in the Hill Country region. What was once a hardware shop in the 1800s, destroyed by fire and rebuilt into a series of grocery and variety stores, is now an upscale steakhouse that pulls in visitors from all over the state. This is no surprise as the restaurant’s menu is an impressive collection of prime steaks, comfort food, and craft cocktails served from the upstairs bar. 

Fiber Lends a Helping Hand

These successful businesses attribute much of their growth to the high-speed internet access provided by CTTC’s fiber installations. Such a compliment was synonymous in a series of interviews performed with the 3 businesses. Fiber speed enables the POS systems, online sales, website hosts, and digital advertising necessary to run a business smoothly. 

“As soon as I take an order at a table, I immediately hear the ring of a new order in the kitchen.”

-Amber Everett, Pecan House Grill

These local entrepreneurs have enjoyed immense support from the San Saba community, but they also need out-of-town traffic to stay afloat. Fiber connectivity allows each entrepreneur to reach customers in neighboring towns and across Texas. Bard & Hallow and Pecan House Grill were excited to share how often they get visitors from out of state, even as far as Wyoming and Montana. Having two locations, Switch Boutique is grateful that fiber provides the necessary speed to keep inventory balanced between stores. 

San Saba has recently seen immense growth. Sales tax revenue has increased 45 percent in five years alone. If you’d like to join the revitalization process, beautiful downtown buildings continue to be available. There is so much potential here for entrepreneurs and investors. The time to start a business is now and with CTTC fiber internet, the opportunities are endless!

The Future is Now

“Acquiring fiber internet from CTTC has been an extremely smooth, easy process. ” 

-Uriah J. Hart, Bard & Hallow

At today’s rate of technological advancement, the high-speed of fiber internet is now a necessity to stay competitive. Businesses need the reliability, speed, security, and consistency that can only be provided with fiber. With CTTC technician experts, installation is quick and seamless so you can connect and start running your operations immediately. Don’t let internet lag hold your sales back, unlock your business’s full potential with fiber connectivity. Central Texas Telecommunications is currently servicing 18 rural communities in the Texas Hill Country with office locations in Goldthwaite and San Saba.






70 Years of Connectivity

This year, CTTC is celebrating its 70th year in business. That’s 70 years of providing connectivity to the rural communities of central Texas. Things looked pretty different back in 1951. The world mainly communicated via hardwired telephones and the postal system and we were decades away from the introduction to the internet. But as technology changed, the world evolved and so have we. So as we celebrate our 70th year in business, we’re taking you on a nostalgia trip as we recall some of the technology we encountered through our many years of serving central Texas.

Rotary Telephones

Woman hands picks up the number of the rotary phone and holds the handset on blue pastel background. Top view, minimalism

The invention of the rotary telephone precedes all of us, as it dates back as early as 1891. Before the invention of the rotary phone, callers picked up the receiver, cranked a handle, and were then connected to an operator who would patch them through to the person they were trying to reach. This lengthy process made many people realize that there was a need to cut out the middleman and allow callers to input the numbers themselves. While many inventors filed patents for phones that achieved this goal, one stood out as practical and affordable to manufacture–the rotary phone. The design of this technology included numbers positioned in a circle beneath a metal disc or dial. To make a call, the caller had to pick up the receiver and rotate the dial for each digit in the phone number–therefore “dialing a number”.

The Rotary Telephone had quite the run. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when the push-button tone dial phone was introduced. By the 1980’s, many households had upgraded and rotary phones were phased out.

Dial-up Modems

The dial-up modem was a wonderful piece of technology that allowed us to get online after the birth of the world wide web in 1994. What started in the 1950s as a method of providing connectivity for the SAGE air-defense system became a mass-produced piece of technology for households worldwide. To get online, the device required an open phone line as it used public telephone networks to connect to servers and other computers. The process involved an exchange of data that created a strange and noisy side effect, known among technicians as “the handshake”. If you received a phone call while connected to the internet, you were booted off and forced to go through the whole connection process once again.


Vintage Desktop PC with Floppy Drive, Keyboard and Mouse in Neon Lightning. 3D Rendering.

It was all thanks to America Online (AOL) that the internet experienced exponential growth in 1997. AOL was the downloadable software that allowed people to access the internet and email. It was also the first of its kind in which registered users could communicate in real-time via AOL Instant Messaging. Who could forget the significance of the away message? It was the original Facebook status update long before Facebook existed.

“How was it downloadable if you had no internet access?”, you ask? Enter the floppy disc, followed by the CD; both of which are retired methods of downloading software or files from a physical disc that you inserted into your computer. AOL mailed mass amounts of these discs–unsolicited–to households around the country. You may even recall throwing several in the trash. It was estimated that they spent over $300 million on approximately 1 billion floppy discs and CDs over a multi-year marketing campaign. After a 20 year run, AOL officially shut down in 2017.

Mobile Phones

Old vintage mobile phones on yellow background.

The first mobile phones were more like two-way radios that fulfilled the need for faster communication among taxi drivers and emergency services. Rather than relying on base stations with separate cells, these devices utilized a mobile phone network created by one very powerful base station that covered a larger area. Motorola was the first company to produce the first handheld mobile phone in 1973. It weighed approximately 2.5 lbs., allowed for 30 minutes of talk time, and took 10 hours to charge. Its steep price also made it available to only a handful of people.

Between the 70s and the early 90s, the mobile phone went through several renditions; all of which produced a device that had weak battery life and was ultimately inaccessible to the average consumer. In 1997, Nokia released the NOKIA 6110; the first handheld mobile phone aimed at the average consumer. It was the first phone to feature mobile games such as snake, memory, and logic. It also had a calculator, currency converter, and a colored screen (4 colors to be exact).

In 2003, the first smartphone was introduced with the Palm One Treo 600. The phone was the first to feature multi-tasking abilities. Companies like Nokia and Blackberry followed suit and released their versions of the smartphone with full keyboards, cameras, and wi-fi capabilities.

The mobile phone world was forever changed in 2008 with the release of the Apple iPhone. Because of the iPhone, touchscreen interfaces became the new standard. Before long, Google produced its own version of the device with the creation of the Android platform. This ultimately put an end to the other operating systems that had previously been thriving. The competition was refocused on the iPhone and Android.


LONDON, UK – MAY 14 2020: Netflix logo on a smartphone with popcorn

Since its inception, Netflix has revolutionized the way we watch movies and television shows and its success led to the creation of multiple competing streaming platforms that we use today.

When Netflix originally launched back in April of 1998, it was the world’s first online DVD rental company that carried 1000 titles. Customers logged on to, selected a movie, and had it mailed to their homes for $4 per DVD with an additional $2 for postage. Eventually, the business model changed to a subscription service allowing customers an unlimited number of rentals for a low monthly fee.

In 2007, the internet streaming option was introduced. At the time, it was only available on PCs and Internet Explorer. Users were also limited to 18 hours of free streaming each month depending on their selected subscription plan. Two years later, streaming was made available on smart TVs and Playstations and as their platform was made available to other countries outside the U.S., their title selection continued to grow. By 2016, Netflix was available in 130 countries across the globe.

Today, Netflix is both a streaming service and a production company–continuously building its library of original films and series in an effort to have exclusive content that edges out the competition like Hulu, Amazon, AppleTV, and Disney+. In 2020, the company spent $15 billion on the production of original content and that number is expected to continue to grow.

Modern Day Internet: Fiber

Though fiber internet may seem relatively new, the science of fiber optic cables dates back as far as the mid-1800s when scientists considered using the speed of light to transmit information. Researchers at the Corning Glass Institute continued to push this research forward. Approximately 100 years later, they invented the fiber optic wire. These wires carried 65,000 times more data than traditional copper wires. When the U.S. government happened upon this groundbreaking technology, it became the first big organization to utilize fiber optic cables to provide stronger links between computer networks.

Fiber optics has come a long way since then. With a signal that maintains speed and doesn’t deteriorate over long distances, it’s easy to see why the broadband fiber network is spreading fast. Its symmetrical speeds allow for seemingly instantaneous uploading and downloading, meaning businesses and households using fiber internet can operate several devices simultaneously. This allows families and growing businesses to operate multiple systems and devices without forcing them to sacrifice speed.

The need for broadband fiber internet is growing rapidly and CTTC is working diligently to fulfill that need for rural communities across central Texas. CTTC currently serves 4,600 members over a 4,000 square mile service area and the numbers are going up. In the last 12 months, CTTC installed 461 miles of fiber, providing faster and more reliable internet for our customers.

We’ve witnessed a lot of change since 1951. From landlines and cellular to fiber and broadband service as well, our services are constantly evolving. As technology continues to evolve, we will be right at the cutting edge of it with you; providing our customers with the same great service you have trusted for the past 70 years.

Works Cited

Berning Sawa, Dale. “An Oral History of the AIM Away Message (By the People Who Were There).” Invision, 12 August 2019, Accessed 28 October 2021.

Goodwin, Richard. “The History of Mobile Phones From 1973 To 2008: The Cellphones That Made It ALL Happen.” Know Your Mobile, 24 August 2021, Accessed 31 October 2021.

McFadden, Christopher. “The Fascinating History of Netflix.” Interesting Engineering, 4 July 2020, Accessed 2 November 2021.

McFadden, Christopher. “What Are Rotary Dial Phones and How Do They Work?” Interesting Engineering, 6 February 2019, Accessed 27 October 2021.

Peskoe-Yang, Lynne. “When the Internet Was Made of Sound.” Popular Mechanics, 28 October 2019, Accessed 28 October 2021.



Most of us are too young to recall a time when going online or making a call wasn’t as easy as a touch of your thumb. But way back in the day, we got our start in the then-revolutionary telephone business. Here’s a glimpse of CTTCs 69-year (and counting) telecommunications history. 

The beginning    


With advancements to the telephone during the 19th century, the 1930s saw a burgeoning telephone network in urban cores. Meanwhile, rural service suffered from deteriorating, or non-existent, infrastructure. The disparity grew, eventually leading Congress to pass the Communications Act of 1934. Though it established the concept of adequate universal service, the disparity grew. In 1949, Congress amended the Rural Electrification Act to spark rural telecommunications growth through low-interest loans. 



The small towns spread across the western edges of the Texas Hill Country were no exception to the rural silence. At the time, the area that CTTC currently serves lacked any initial phone line infrastructure. In 1951 a group of local businessmen took the telecommunications plight to Washington. The group was granted a loan and together they formed a collaborative, Central Texas TeleCommunications, to bring telecommunications technology to a big chunk of rural Texas. 

The evolution of telecommunications services 


CTTC’s initial offering was a party-line, eventually evolving to the private lines most of us can easily recall. From rotary phones to portable phones, as technology advanced, the cooperative upheld their commitment to providing their customers with the latest. In the 90s, the urban world went online and we broadened our services – investing in DSL/dial-up networks to bring our rural customers broadband. Twenty years later, we’ve hit another milestone, installing one of the largest rural fiber optic networks in the country. 



“We started as a party-line phone service provider with the vision of connecting our rural neighbors with the same quality that city folks enjoy,” says Jamey Wigley, CTTC’s General Manager. “Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of change. Internet and wireless devices have changed the way people communicate, do business and spend their free time. And, CTTC has evolved with the changing technology to better serve our customers.”

How we got here

Thanks to both fortune and foresight, CTTC was established as a member-owned cooperative. This allows us a lot of freedom. Serving rural areas has never been a priority for major companies like Southwestern Bell. Historically, they build infrastructure in densely populated areas, competing for the largest profit share with other investor-backed corporations. But, as a co-op, we’re able to funnel our profits directly to infrastructure and service investment. There is a lot of motivation in our isolation: we’re able – and willing – to build a network we want to use. 



Sometimes that means re-burying 3,200-square miles of cable – like we did to upgrade party lines to private. Other times, like in 1995, it means the installation of new copper cables for dial-up. Still other times it means the massive hundred-million-dollar undertaking to install fiber optic cable, replacing every existing cable in the ground. Sometimes it means maintenance or improving customer service. 

“We’re structured to respond to our customer’s needs,” says Wigley. “It’s thanks to our company’s structure and culture that we’ve built broadband service that rivals (or beats) the quality of big city providers.” 

Now our member-owned co-op is powering nine schools, hundreds of businesses and thousands of residents with reliable (and fast) internet. Our ability to evolve means that our high-schoolers can jumpstart their college education with distance learning credits. It eliminates a common barrier for rural businesses, supporting high-impact business growth, digital operations and logistics. And, it allows families to stay connected to their communities both at home and afar.  

The heart & soul of CTTC

It’s worth noting that the backbone of CTTC is our dedicated employees. There are so many layers to our success. Without our employees – many of whom are with us until retirement – the cooperative could not provide our high-quality service. From the teams that work ‘round the clock – even on holidays – manning the call center, offering tech support 24/7, laying new fiber-optic lines, addressing services outages or network damages – their dedication and passion is the reason we can run a sophisticated broadband company in a rural area.  Indeed, their commitment to CTTC’s customers is a true embodiment of our mission and culture. 


“The culture of our company is reflected in our employees through the way they serve our customers.” – Jamey Wigley, General Manager 

Moving into 2019 and beyond 

We’re currently seeing higher growth numbers as people seek out the slower pace and affordability that small-town Texas offers. As these numbers grow, we’re excited to continue providing service to our past, present and future customers. 

Technology is moving at warp speed. The sky’s the limit – but one thing remains constant. That’s the commitment of a cooperative made all the way back in 1951 – the pledge to evolve and advance rural telecommunications. 

The commitment that started with now-obsolete technology investment, has been affirmed over 69 years and through four major technology era advancements. And it doesn’t end with our investment in fiber optics. Rather, we will continue to reinvest profits in the latest technology to ensure fast, reliable connectivity so our customers can build lives and businesses they love.