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Connecting You! Answering the call. For 70 Years

DUO Broadband Company History

70 Years of Service to Our Region

Telephone service was a luxury in most areas of Kentucky in 1954. Rural Kentucky normally had service only in the small towns. That service was performed with a local operator making manual switchboard connections between telephone customers.

In May of 1954, a small group of individuals in Cumberland County met and decided they would change communications in that rural area of south central Kentucky. They wanted to form a cooperative to provide service where the larger telephone companies would not venture. So on May 24, 1954 incorporation papers for the Duo County Telephone Cooperative were filed by its legal counsel, John S. Cary, of Burkesville, Kentucky. The group originally intended to provide service to Cumberland and Clinton counties in the southeast area of the state. Like all small entities in rural Kentucky, the cooperative struggled through organizational and operational problems for the first few years of its existence.

In May of 1956, the cooperative purchased a small manual telephone system called Russell Home Telephone Company in Russell County. The cooperative also made plans to serve rural Adair County where no service was available. Plans to serve Clinton County fell through as the cooperative could not purchase the manual system in that area. The system finally started getting its feet on the ground in December of 1958 when it converted its existing customer base to automated dial service in Russell, Adair, and Cumberland counties.

The first official annual meeting of the cooperative’s 900 members was held on June 2, 1959. The first elected Board of Trustees from the membership were R. N. Smith (President), Ben Hardin (Secretary), and W. H. Parrish from Cumberland County; Carl B. Phelps (Vice President), H. E. Pruitt, and F. A. Smith from Russell County; and J. E. Sparks from Adair County.

The cooperative’s board selected Orville S. Schureman as its general manager in September 1959. At that time, the cooperative had only 1,200 customers on the telephone system. Most of those customers were served on 8-party lines. Since a larger number of customers resided in its Russell County area, the cooperative moved its headquarters from Burkesville to Jamestown on June 4, 1960, and Carl B. Phelps was then elected as the cooperative’s president.

Over the next 14 years, the cooperative grew from 1,300 to almost 5,000 customers. In 1974, the 8-party line service was eliminated. The cooperative installed one of the first computerized digital switching offices in the state in 1980. In 1982, Schureman retired as general manager after 22 years of guiding the cooperative through growth and improvements for its members.

Later that year William W. Magruder was named the new General Manager, overseeing dramatic changes in communications technology and the services DUO provided to its customers over the next 29 years.

One milestone was reached in 1984 as the cooperative eliminated the 4-party line, thus providing private line service to all of its 6,500 customers. Jumping ahead to 1999, Duo County Telephone was offering Centrex Business systems, long-distance, and cellular service. That year also marked two major milestones with the advancement of its first fiber optic ring project and the opening of its new customer service headquarters in Jamestown. In 2000 high-speed internet was offered and in 2009 fiber optic cable services became available. In that same decade Duo County introduced local tv news and sports, live and on demand, through its DUO 2 TV.

In 2011 Thomas E. Preston was selected as the company’s new CEO. By 2014 there were 9,500 cooperative members. In that same year Duo County marked its fifteenth year of providing a full-time, first-time freshman scholarship to a local student to attend Lindsey Wilson College and donated $75,000 to Adair, Russell, and Cumberland County schools for technology improvements.

In 2019 the cooperative rebranded from Duo County Telecom to DUO Broadband, reflecting the increased customer demand for services through its broadband internet network. The company offers entertainment and communication services and provides the highest level of customer care and convenience to its members and customers from the headquarters in Jamestown.

Duo County Telecom JamestownDuo County Telecom JamestownDUO Broadband Jamestown headquarters exterior view.

DUO provides high-speed internet service and state-of-the-art residential and business telephone service over an expanding fiber optic network. In 2023 alone, DUO had expansion projects on the board or nearing completion worth over $25.2 million and scheduled to serve more than 4,500 homes and businesses.

Providing service to rural areas is a difficult task. Still, the foundation of a cooperative is to provide quality service to its members and when prudent return any profits that the telephone operations generate. The cooperative began returning capital credit dividends to its members in 1988. Through 2023, DUO has continued that cooperative tradition by returning over $25 million to its members in capital credit dividends.

DUO Broadband is proud of its rural history and maintains a strong commitment to providing quality connections to the six counties it serves.

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