Telephone 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 1934.
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 locations.
Deregulation of the phone industry encouraged the company to establish NTCNet in 1995. This subsidiary company provides high speed Internet access, business telephone service and long distance in Herkimer and Oneida Counties, outside of Newport’s franchise 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. Under his leadership the company has focused on establishing itself as a leader in providing communication solutions and exceptional customer service. NTCNet strongly supports the community, building partnerships with its customers and providing them with the technology required to meet their communication needs. Serving a very rural area in its franchised market of approximately 240 square miles, 95% of it has access to High Speed Internet. Future goals are to continue to provide the solutions to our customers and to meet their communication needs and beat the competition.