Our History

Northwest Telephone Cooperative Association

(NwTCA) is a member-owned independent telephone company with headquarters in Havelock, Iowa.

(excerpts from Lines Between Two Rivers)

Northwest Telephone Cooperative Association was incorporated in 1963 and initially provided telephone service to Havelock, Plover and Curlew. In 1979, the West Bend telephone exchange was purchased from West Iowa Telephone. During 1980, NTCA installed one of the first digital switches and constructed a new cable facility for the West Bend customers. In 1981, NTCA installed new facilities to meet USWest for toll services at our Havelock-USWest meet point. In 1984, cable facilities were installed for toll traffic between Havelock, Plover, and Curlew. The next year, digital switches were installed in Havelock, Plover, and Curlew.

In 1987, NTCA became a member of Iowa Network Services, Inc., whose efforts led to Iowa becoming the first state in the nation to offer intra-LATA and inter-LATA centralized equal access to 128 rural member telephone companies and their 305 rural telephone exchanges. INS constructed more than 1000 miles of fiber optic cable to provide this service.

NTCA constructed more than 50 miles of fiber optic cable within its telephone system in 1993. In 1994, NTCA assisted in forming Northwest Communications Network, L.C., with telephone companies from Ayrshire, Graettinger, Ruthven, Terril, and Webb-Dickens to build a fiber optic SONET ring between all six telephone companies and Spencer to meet Iowa Network Services. In 1995, fiber was buried from Graettinger to Ringsted to bring Ringsted Telephone onto the fiber optic network, and in 1996 fiber was buried to Emmetsburg. In 1997, NTCA employees buried 13 miles of fiber optic cable for Palmer Telephone to connect their system to NTCA. Palmer now tandems their toll traffic off our NTCA switch in Plover. This fiber optic network provides a redundant telecommunications network and a 100% fiber optic connection to Iowa Network Services in Des Moines. In 1998, the fiber optic network was expanded to Armstrong, connecting Independent Networks telephone communications to Iowa Network Services and Cable Television signal from Terril. Northwest Telephone's affiliate - Northwest One, Inc. - is a member of Independent Networks, which is in competition with Iowa Telecom and Triax.

Northwest Communications, Inc., was incorporated in 1986 to construct and provide cable television service to the community of Havelock. Northwest Communications purchased Rolfe's cable television system in 1989, the Mallard cable television system in 1990, as well as constructing the Palmer cable television system for Palmer Mutual Telephone Company that year, and purchased the West Bend cable television system in 1991. In 1994, Northwest Communications constructed the cable television system in Plover and consolidated the Havelock, Mallard, Plover, Rolfe, and West Bend systems over fiber optic facilities so all locations receive cable television signal from the centrally located Plover headend. In 1997, Palmer CATV service was added to the consolidation.

In addition to local telephone service and cable television, in 1995, NTCA started providing Internet services using the trade name of Northwest Internet Services (NIS). Northwest One, Inc. was formed, a wholly owned subsidiary of NTCA, to provide toll resale and for investing in other telephone services. In 1997, Northwest One became a member of Local Alliance Network (LAN) for group purchases of toll (long distance services) for resale to customers of our telephone company. Also in 1997, Northwest Internet Services was moved into Northwest One, Inc., and presently provides Internet services and technical support to sixty communities in northwest and north-central Iowa, including Algona, Cherokee, Emmetsburg, Estherville, Sheldon, Storm Lake, Spirit Lake, Spencer, Garner, and Webster City. Services include dialup Internet access, wireless Internet, and dedicated circuits for homes or businesses, as well as Internet service and video-conferencing to many schools and libraries.

Northwest Telephone Cooperative Association and its subsidiary companies offer local and long distance telephone services, cable TV, paging, cellular phone, and Internet services. In short, the cooperative strives to meet all telecommunications needs of its members.