service in the Newport vicinity of Herkimer County began
in 1904 with the availability of service from Herkimer
County Telephone Company, which was acquired by Utica
Home Telephone Company in 1910. Two years later, the company
was acquired by Central New York Telephone Company, which
went on to become New York Telephone.
In 1913, Leo C. Foss established Newport Telephone by
buying a portion of Central New York Telephone. Initially
the company served 135 telephones, with Mr. Foss serving
as the company’s President and General Manager.
In 1923, Foss founded another company to provide telephone
service in the town of Ohio, and acquired a number of
local farmer-owned telephone cooperatives which were
eventually added to Newport Telephone Company.
The company endured many difficulties in the early years.
It survived the Great Depression in the 1930s; modernizing
to reduce expenses by converting to dial telephones.
Middleville was one of the first villages in the state
to convert, quickly followed by Poland and Newport in
World War II posed more problems: Qualified help, construction
materials and supplies were impossible to obtain as
the nation concentrated on the defense effort. The government
established priority lists, and doctors and businesses
were at the top. Getting new residential phone service
was nearly impossible.
In 1951, the founder’s son, Leo G. Foss took over
as President and General Manager. The number of telephone
subscribers grew significantly during the rebounding
post-war economy. This necessitated a larger office
building, which was completed in 1958.
In 1977, management of the company passed to Theodore
Foss, third generation of the family. He initiated the
company’s Business Communications Division in
the early 1980s to install and maintain business telephone
systems in a large area of Central New York.
Newport Telephone converted its entire switching network
to digital equipment in 1987, resulting in six digital
switches in the company’s franchise area utilizing
fiberoptic cable between the central office and remote
Deregulation of the phone industry encouraged the company
to establish NTCNet in 1995. This subsidiary company
provides dial-up and high speed Internet access in Oneida
and Herkimer Counties, in addition to business telephone
service and long distance outside of Newport’s
local service area.
In early 2000, long-time General Manager Harley Ruppert
became President and CEO of the companies upon purchasing
them from Ted Foss, who retired. NTCNet began to offer
its business telephone products in Southern Herkimer
County, from Little Falls to Frankfort, and has enjoyed