History

The Hancock Telephone Company was incorporated in 1901 when local visionaries joined ranks and built an independent link to the telephone empire. Today, as one of the few remaining independently owned telecommunications companies in the region, Hancock Telephone provides the latest in softswitch technology to more than 1600 customers located in New York and Pennsylvania. We receive high marks from our customers on satisfaction surveys and are the proud recipients of the New York State Public Service Commission for providing outstanding quality service. Owners Bob Wrighter and his sons, Rob, Greg and Mike, as well as all of the employees take great pride in celebrating the promise of the future by reflecting on the past.

1901: May 4 – Original owner, Chester B. May, holds a meeting for the purpose of organizing a stock company; officers and directors are elected:

Chairman: Samuel N. Wheeler

Secretary: Herbert W. Wagner

Officers: Chester B. May, President; Bernard J. Bussman, Vice-President; Herbert W. Wagner, Secretary; Samuel N. Wheeler, Treasurer; Edmund J. Cotter, Manager

Directors: Samuel N. Wheeler, Chester B. May, Bernard J. Bussman, Austin D. Johnston, Clayton L. Wheeler, Edmund J. Cotter, Herbert W. Wagner

May 31 – The Hancock Telephone Company incorporates in New York State

1902: William Busfield joins the Company.

1904: The “Central” (switchboard) moves from the S.N. Wheeler store to the upstairs of the Hancock Herald building.

1914: Robert W. Busfield becomes President and General Manager.

1931: The Telephone Company purchases Shehawken Hose Company and locates the Central Office upstairs.

1942-1955: Mae Busfield holds the office of President.

1942-1974: Grace Barbara Busfield Wrighter holds the office of Secretary.

1955-1974: Gail W. Wrighter, Sr. holds the office of President and the title of General Manager.

1955: The Company upgrades the equipment from magneto (telephone crank dialing) to rotary dialing with the installation of a Strowager Step-By-Step switch, introducing direct long-distance dialing; the operators (Hello Girls) “retire”.

1971: Hancock becomes the first independent telephone company in the United States to install an electro-mechanical computerized switch.

1974-1984: Grace B. Wrighter becomes President upon the death of her husband, Gail W. Wrighter, Sr.; Son, Robert C. Wrighter, Sr. becomes Vice-President and General Manager.

1984-1999: Grace B. Wrighter holds the position as Chairman of the Board.

1984-Present: Robert C. Wrighter, Sr. succeeds his mother, Grace Barbara as President.

1987: The Company leaves its decades-old location in a renovated fire hall, moves next door to new headquarters and installs a state-of-the-art digital switch manufactured by Northern Telecom, providing custom calling features and voice-mail to the customer base.

1991: Hancock offers equal access, allowing customers to choose their long-distance carriers.

1995: The Hancock Telephone Company acquires Hancock Video and Lakewood Cable from the Schoonmaker family on June 26.

1996: Diversifying once again, Hancock establishes its subsidiary, Pronet, providing internet services in Hancock, Walton, Delhi, Downsville, Owego and the Binghamton area.

1998: The Company installs SS7 (Signaling System 7) technology in its digital switch and is able to provide CLASS features: Call ID, Call Return, Busy Redial and Call Trace.

2000-Present: Robert C. Wrighter, Sr. becomes Chairman of the Board and retains the title of President.

2001: Celebrating 100 years of service, the Company thanked the community with an Open House and an invitational dinner for family, local and industry friends and vendors.

2007: Adding another subsidiary operation, the Company begins offering long distance service with four different Calling Plans through Hancock Long Distance, Inc. (HLD) providing one-stop shopping for their customers’ telecommunication needs.

2008: Once again, keeping pace with technology, Hancock Telephone upgrades their switching equipment to a new Nortel CS-1500/ERS-8600 Softswitch.

2017-2020: This period brings about the New NY Broadband Grant Project and subsequent deployment of Fiber to the Home.

2020-2021- Hancock Team works relentlessly through the Pandemic to rollout Television Services over Fiber.

115 Years and Beyond: Having remained in the same family since its inception, with three generations currently working within the company, Hancock Telephone has 11 full time employees operating the four entities: telephone, long distance, cable and internet. Always planning for the future, we continue to upgrade our plant and equipment, striving to meet customer demands and expectations.