Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) was founded in 1902, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Then called Farmers Mutual Telephone System, the goal was to bring telephone service found in towns to the countryside. This is still important to Shentel today even though those humble beginnings are far behind us.
Today, Shentel is a diversified telecommunications company providing both regulated and unregulated telecommunications services through its wholly-owned subsidiaries. These subsidiaries provide wireless personal communications services (as a Sprint PCS affiliate), local exchange telephone services, video, internet and data services, long distance services, fiber optics facilities and leaded tower facilities. There are three reportable segments, which are operated and managed as strategic business units organized by lines of business - wireless, cable and wireline.
Where once Shentel only was available to customers in Shenandoah County, the company offers varying services in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Shentel now has more than 1 million combined customers.
Timeline of History
1902 – Farmers Mutual Telephone System (FMTS) incorporated as mutual company to serve customers—all of whom owned stock in the business.
1929-39 – Great Depression: One out of 10 telephones in the US was disconnected for non-payment and a number of independents went out of business.
1941 – As World War II brings prosperity, FMTS revenue more than doubles.
1958 – Local switchboards closed and moved to a new central switchboard.
1960 – Name changes to Shenandoah Telephone Company.
1962 – First in Virginia to offer Direct Dial Long Distance service.
1969 – Revenue exceeds $1,000,000.
1980 – Shenandoah Telephone Company introduces cable TV service.
1981 – Shenandoah Telephone Company and Shenandoah Cable Television Company become subsidiaries of new holding company - Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel).
1984 – Shentel offers discounted long distance service and starts selling non-telephone equipment, including computers and alarm systems.
1984 – Starts fiber optic network and leases space.
1984 – Shenandoah Mobile Company formed to expand mobile and paging services. Voicemail service added in 1987.
1987 – Telephone service goes from analog to digital switching.
1987 – Shenandoah Long Distance Company formed. Within a year it captures 35% of the local market.
1988 – Shenandoah Network Company formed to provide fiber optic systems from Rockingham County north—through Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, along Interstate 81, to the Pennsylvania line.
1990 – Shenandoah Cellular became the first company in the state of Virginia to offer cellular service to a rural area.
1994 – Internet service is made available.
1995 – Shentel enters into an agreement with American Personal Communications to become the first rural PCS provider in the US.
2002 – Shentel celebrates its 100th anniversary.
2004 – Shentel acquires NTC Communications for the purpose of becoming a leading provider of voice, video and Internet services to the Multi-Tenant Unit (MTU) housing market.
2004 – Milestone: 100,000th PCS customer.
2005 – Retail PCS customers increase 19.8%—third year of double-digit growth.
2005 – Milestone: 100 percent of local exchange subscribers have access to high-speed broadband service.
2007 – Launch of HD/DVR service in Shenandoah Cable
2007 – Launch of EVDO as affiliate of Sprint Nextel
2008 – Reached and passed 200,000 PCS customers
2008 – Purchased franchised cable assets in VA and WV from Rapid Communications
2009 – Purchased North River Telephone Cooperative in Augusta County; bringing high-speed Internet service to these customers for the first time.
2010 – Purchased cable operations and assets of JetBroadband Holdings in southern Virginia and southern West Virginia.
2010 – Purchased two small cable systems from Suddenlink – one in Maryland and the other in West Virginia.
2011 – Upgrades and extends former JetBroadband and Suddenlink cable systems, bringing total number of homes passed to 182,156.
2012 – Shentel starts two-year Network Vision project to build 4G LTE Network in its wireless footprint.
2012 – Initiates Fiber-to-the-Home project in McDowell County, WV.
2012 – 25Mbps high-speed Internet launched in most markets.
2012 – Shentel updates company brand.
2013 – 50 Mbps high-speed Internet launched in most cable markets.
2013 – Initiates Fiber-to-the-Home project in Rural Retreat, VA.
2013 – Shentel named one of Forbes Top 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America.
2014 – Shentel offers 101Mbps Residential Internet Service to majority of customers.
2014 – Initiates Fiber-to-the-Home in Ronceverte, WV.
2014 – Shentel named one of Forbes Top 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America for the second year in a row.
2015 – Shentel announces agreement to buy regional wireless company, nTelos.
2016 – Shentel purchases Colane Cable TV in southwestern West Virginia.
2016 – Completes acquisition of nTelos, becomes sixth largest public wireless company in the United States.
2016 – Shentel named one of Forbes Top 100 Most Trustworthy Companies for a third time.
2017 – Shentel is recognized as the Independent Operator of the Year by industry magazine Cablefax.
2018 – Shentel is named to Fortune Magazine's 100 Fastest Growing Companies list of domestic and foreign publicly traded companies for 2018.
2019 – 1 Gig PowerHouse Internet service available in Virginia cable markets after soft launch in fall of 2018.
2019 – Shentel purchased cable operations and assets of Big Sandy Broadband, a cable TV, Internet and Phone provider in Eastern Kentucky.