In 1948, V.N. (Red) Sears, an ex-Southwestern Bell employee, bought the franchise area from Holmes Telephone Co., of Wichita Falls, Texas. Holmes Telephone Co. was owned by J.N. (Jesse) Holmes, the father of Gordan Holmes, who was previously manager of the former Byers-Petrolia Telephone Company. He and his wife, Sara, named the phone company Community Telephone Company. They operated the business out of their house in Scotland, Texas until a large ice storm knocked down all of the lines. After this, they moved to Bluegrove, TX. Then they moved to Joy and operated the switchboard there until 1953, when they sold the company to Jake and Louise Horn. Jake Horn was employed by a mutually–owned phone company in Muenster, Texas. The Horns moved to Windthorst and moved the switchboard from the Eugene Anderle house to their house and operated it from there until 1958.
The Horns worked with the REA to get low-interest loans from the government to build new lines and new buildings. Then on April 22, 1955, Community Telephone Co. was incorporated and sold shares. A total of 818 shares were sold for $50 each.
In August of 1958, the REA loan funds were approved and two new buildings were built. New lines were installed and the company went to dial service. The number of customers increased to 175 in Windthorst. The Scotland exchange, which was previously part of the Windthorst exchange, was added in 1963. The Bluegrove exchange was added in 1969. This exchange was previously part of the Joy exchange. In 1970, the company acquired the area around the Lake Kickapoo and built the Lake Kickapoo exchange. Community Telephone went to one-party service throughout all exchanges in 1974 and in 1975 the company added the Lake Arrowhead exchange. Also, in the same year, it installed digital T-Carrier and added Direct Distant Dialing to all exchanges.
Floyd and Betty Humpert bought controlling interest of Community Telephone Company on September 1, 1975. Floyd had been working with the company part-time since 1953. Shortly after, he went to full time and by 1955, was plant superintendent. After Floyd purchased the controlling interest, he hired four of his six sons. Floyd worked for the company for 36 years until his death on July 20, 1989. Betty Humpert started with the company on September 2, 1975. She served as President, as a result of Floyd’s death, until her death on July 6, 2017.
In 2015 four of the Majority Stockholders sold their Shares of Stock in the Company, Leaving the remaining four of the children with the majority of stock. Clifford Humpert now serves as President/CEO, Steve Humpert as Vice President & Outside Plant Manager, Mike Humpert as Vice President & Network Manager, and Gayle Vieth as Vice President & Office Manager.
In late 2015, Community Telephone / Comcell started a 5 year plan to provide high speed fiber internet to it’s customers. The project, Fiber To The Home (FTTH) included building a new fiber infrastructure throughout it’s service area. All Windthorst customers were completed in 2016 and surrounding areas were started.
In 2016, Comcell expanded it’s service area and started providing wireless services in Bowie, Bellevue and Amon G. Carter lake areas. By the end of 2017, we were providing wireless services to over 300 customers.
In 2017, Comcell started building out it’s fiber infrastructure in Bowie & Henrietta as part of the plan start providing Fiber To The Home in these cities. The first customers in Bowie were turned on in 2018 and the entire project was completed by the end of 2019.
In 2021, Comcell was approved for an USDA RUS Community Connect award to bring broadband and economic growth to the small town of Newport the project is due to be complete by the end of 2022.
Community Telephone Company, Inc. has a Four-member Board of Directors and a four-member Advisory Board. To learn more about Community Telephone Company, Inc., call 940-423-6201.