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  Serving our community since 1896


Telephone service started in Prattsburgh in 1896. Like a lot of telephone companies, it started with a single line. From there it grew into a corporation.

The first name was Prattsburgh Home Telephone Company, which was incorporated in 1919, and then sold in 1920 by Frank Eels for $3200. The directors and officers at that time were Addison Wood, Charles E. Stone, Blaine E. Shaw, Chauncey P. Smith, J. B. Merritt, Frank Eels and James Flaherty. The company was later sold to Frank and Ruby Wheelock who ran the company until 1943 when it was acquired by Harold and Francis Putnam.

In 1946, the company was purchased by Herman and Ann Wagner. From then until now the company has grown into the corporation that it is today. Part of the growth came through the acquisition of other telephone companies. Those acquisitions were:

  • 1953- The Home Telephone Company of Hector
  • 1953- Caywood, Lodi and Valois Telephone Company
  • 1957- Hector, Logan and Burdett Telephone Company
  • 1959- East Pembroke Telephone Company
  • 1973- Odessa Telephone Company

In addition to the acquisitions in New York State, in 1952 Herman Wagner crossed the border into Pennsylvania and purchased what is known today as North Penn Telephone Company.

In 1960, the company name was changed to its present one: Empire Telephone Corporation.

The company’s first dial service was for Prattsburgh subscribers in 1948 - 1949. Thereafter, all remaining exchanges were converted to dial service, ending with the East Pembroke exchange in 1960.

Direct distance dialing service was offered by Empire in 1968, and the following year construction started on mobile telephone system.

Given advancements in communication technology and the company’s ambitious growth, Empire entered the Digital era in 1984 when the first digital switch was put into service.

In 1994, Empire Telephone Corporation was the first independent telephone company in the state to interface with NYNEX via an OC-03 SONET (Synchronous Optical Network). SONET’s fiber interface is protected by a ring topology — eliminates the possibility of being isolated from the network. The system was upgraded to an OC-48 in 2003.

Approaching 2004, Empire Telephone Corporation had nearly 8400 access lines, all 100% digital. (In 2002, we began offering DSL to about 90% of our customers).

Wherever possible Empire buries it’s outside plant cable. To date, 80% of the route miles of cable route is buried construction. Empire has over 65 miles of fiber cable in place as well as 843 miles of cooper in use. The six exchanges that Empire has today covers over 320 square miles of service territory.

Current officers are Brian Wagner - President, Jim Baase - COO, Frank Pilling - Vice President and Thomas Prestigiacomo - Secretary/Treasurer. Corporate business office is located in Prattsburgh, NY.

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  ©2004 Empire Telephone
34 Main Street, P.O. Box 349, Prattsburgh, NY 14873
607.522.3747 | 800.338.3300