RT Communications was created through the vision of Range Telephone Cooperative's Board of Trustees to provide the latest in telecommunications services to the residents of Wyoming. The opportunity to begin their quest came with the announcement of US WEST's intention to sell 26 of its Wyoming exchanges in February 1993. Range Telephone was successful in its bid for 16 of the 26 Wyoming exchanges in June 1993, and in July, filings to the Federal Communications Commission were made naming the newly created Wyoming subsidiary, RT Communications, Inc. The Wyoming Public Service Commission issued a 142-page document approving the sale in February 1994. In August of that same year, the Federal Communications Commission granted approval of the acquisition. Shortly thereafter, bids for state-of-the-art digital switching equipment to modernize the purchased exchanges were requested from industry vendors. Management and staff personnel started arriving in late September while customer service representatives began training. Many of the technicians were hired from US WEST and transitioned to RT in late October. Closing activities were conducted in the US WEST state headquarters in Cheyenne on October 25, 1994. Thus initially relegated to serve 14,409 customers on antiquated facilities, but strongly supported by 38 enthusiastic new employees, RT Communications officially began operations on October 26, 1994.
Communities served by RT include Albin, Burns, Carpenter, Gas Hills, Hulett, Jeffrey City, Kaycee, Midwest, Moorcroft, Newcastle, Osage, Pine Bluffs, Shoshoni, Thermopolis, Upton, and Worland. Worland, as the largest exchange, was selected as the site for RT's corporate headquarters. Extensive remodeling of the former US WEST building was completed to meet the modernization plans and office needs of the new company.
Manned with a determination to succeed, RT Communications and its staff set out to attain its vision to update the state's telecommunications infrastructure and provide the latest in communications services to its customers. By the end of 2010, new state-of-the-art soft switches will be installed bringing RT's ability to provide cutting edge technology to most customers. This, coupled with the fiber optic toll routes that now connect every RT exchange to the outside world, positions the company to provide the bandwidths and services for the new millennium.
In addition to its core local telephone services, RT Communications partnered with the Casper Star Tribune, the states most widely circulated newspaper, in 1996 to provide Internet access to its subscribers. RT provided the Internet connectivity and sales, and the Tribune provided customer support, sales, and billing. RT was equipped to support dial-up as well as ISDN and T1 connectivity. This joint venture lasted until 2003 when RT integrated its Internet service into its local service, providing a bundled product for its subscribers.
Working to further increase its market share and scope of services in the Wyoming region, RT Communications participated in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Personal Communications Services (PCS) auctions in 1996, winning wireless licenses in Cheyenne, Casper and Riverton, Wyoming Basic Trading Areas (BTAs). SpectraCom, Inc. d.b.a. PYXIS Communications was founded October 29, 1997 as a subsidiary of RT Communications to oversee its PCS operation. The markets chosen for PCS service complimented RT's service areas thereby augmenting RT's existing wireline services with digital wireless services to new and existing subscribers throughout the region. The wireless subsidiary, PYXIS Communications, was also headquartered in Worland and had five outlying offices located in the cities of Casper, Cheyenne, Laramie, Gillette and Riverton. PYXIS launched the first digital wireless network in the state in April of 1999 and operated until September 29, 2003 when it was sold to Union Telephone Company.
Through a partnership with its sister company, Advanced Communications Technology, Inc. (ACT) of Sheridan, RT was able to launch a suite of additional products in the 4th quarter 2002, which included Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and Internet access. Services are provided to RT customers by ACT d.b.a. RT Connect. In addition to providing high-speed Internet access, RT offers an entire array of Professional Services, which include Network Security, LAN and WAN Consulting, Installation, Monitoring and Management, E-Commerce Consulting, and Web Hosting. A portal page providing local news, weather, and events along with virus protection, parental controls, and Spam protection is also available.
Since RT was established, over $100 million has been invested to update the local access and toll facility infrastructure. To date, digital switching and associated services and features have been provided to 99% of its customers. RT is in the process of installing new state-of-the-art IP soft switches to bring its service offering capability to the cutting edge of technology. RT has also placed over 1,000 miles of fiber optic cable. With the installation of the fiber optic cable, RT has been able to deploy high-speed data products as well as expanding many of its current service offerings, including high-speed internet and video services. The Company's major strength is its ability to provide state-of-the-art, reasonably priced telecommunications and broadband services with features that were previously unavailable. In the past three years, RT has made a concentrated effort in placing fiber to the home in several exchanges. Currently, well over 1300 customers have fiber service to their homes and businesses. There are plans in place with funding to eventually serve all customers with fiber over the next five to seven years.
RT is acknowledged as an active community leader. With an employee base of 63, it is recognized as a premier employer, offering a competitive compensation and benefit package to attract and retain a quality workforce. RT encourages community involvement and teamwork and has experienced very little employee turnover as a result of its culture and high standards.
RT Communications serves approximately 12,400 subscribers in Wyoming, as well as small regions of Montana and South Dakota. The company markets its products and services to residential and business consumers. RT's service, sales, and distribution are provided by a group of highly trained technicians, customer service representatives, data specialists, and engineers.
Services offered by RT today include: high speed internet service, secure online data storage, antivirus/spyware applications, local and long distance voice service, custom calling features, voice mail, conferencing service, interconnection and special circuits, business and residential telephone systems, bundled services options, and communications interoperability (allows radios, cell phones and landlines to work together) systems. RT recently deployed its internet TV service offering StreamVueTV in July of 2011.