OUR HISTORY

PROVIDING TELECOMMUNICATIONS SINCE 1905

Northland Communications is a third-generation family-owned business that provides telecommunication services to businesses in Central New York. Our origins date back to 1905 with the incorporation of our parent company, Oneida County Rural Telephone. Our rich history has provided invaluable experience, financial stability, and significant resources.

Northland’s emphasis on the customer and team member experience and creating a positive impact in the communities we serve is the foundation of our core values.  These values transformed Oneida County Rural Telephone into what Northland Communications is today.

Our timeline details important dates and changes throughout our history.

1904 – Ellis Jones organizes a group of neighbors together to start a telephone company to share the results of the Presidential Election of 1904.

1905– Oneida County Rural Telephone is officially incorporated under the management of Ellis Jones.

1926 –Peter E. McCarthy acquires Oneida County Rural Telephone.

1960– Peter E. McCarthy II and Jeremiah O. McCarthy, brothers, started the next generation in OCRT’s history.  Peter focused his efforts on the outside plant side of the business, while Jerry focused on the business side.

 1963 – Following WWII, people migrated from urban areas to the country, and with that OCRT grew. This brought upon demand for toll-free calling, this need was met with free calling to the Utica and Rome markets.

1976 – The ESC-3 electronic switch was installed, this provided touch calling and other customer calling features.

1978 – All Page paging system was installed that offered tone and voice paging

1982 – Northland Communications is born, offering discount long-distance services. Due to the dispossession of AT&T and the break-up of the Bell System, the telecommunication industry now welcomed competition and continued to create opportunities for regional companies.

1990 – Oneida County Telephone and Northland Communications go digital with the installation of the Stromberg-Carlson DCO digital switch that was placed in service in Holland Patent. At the same time, Remote RL-S 1000 switch was placed in the Westernville exchange.  Fiber optic facilities connected Holland Patent and Westernville switches and a fiber optic cable connected Holland Patent and Rome, connecting us to the outside world.

1995 – Northland acquired a controlling interest in Dreamscape Online, which provided dial-up Internet access to thousands of Upstate New York users. As the Internet world has evolved, Dreamscape’s current focus is providing dedicated bandwidth, email, and hosting services to the Central New York business community.

1996 – Northland Networks was established with the passing of the Telecommunications Act.  Primarily focusing on the Utica & Syracuse markets, Northland Networks became a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) and began providing local dial tone service.

2001 – Northland Communications acquired Gaffney Communications in May of this year, expanding our voice and data solutions to include the Nortel product line.

2006 – Northland began building its fiber-optic network to serve the ever-growing bandwidth needs of the Central New York business community. Today that network is over 1,000 miles in length, spans from Herkimer to Syracuse.

2006 – In an effort to further develop an end-to-end, single-company telecommunications solution, all business units, with the exception of Oneida County Rural Telephone, became standardized under Northland Communications from a brand perspective.

2014– Oneida County Rural Telephone started replacing the copper network with fiber to the home, giving customers access to gigabit speeds.

2016 – Northland invested in our product offering and added Hosted PBX through Avaya to our lineup, branded as our Business Unlimited powered by Avaya.

2017- New York State Broadband Office awards Oneida County Telephone a grant to migrate households from copper to fiber-optic lines giving faster broadband access to homes.

2017 – We renovated and expanded our Holland Patent office.  Northland Communications and our affiliated company, Oneida County Rural Telephone, moved into a combined workspace at our 9560 Main Street office.

2017 – Northland enters into a partnership with Metaswitch to offer MaX UC, our Unified Communications platform.

2018 – In 2018, our leadership team implemented the EOS management methodology.  This methodology brought cohesion internally, allowing us to focus on the right things, set corporate goals, and align departmental projects.

2018 – Northland Communications branding is defined: Creating Quality Connections both internally with our team members and externally with our customers and in the communities we serve.

2020 – The novel COVID -19 Coronavirus hits. Northland team members worked together, from their homes to provide solutions to keep our customers connected to their business.  We partnered with Metaswitch to offer free MaX UC licenses to our business community to support a remote workforce. Northland also partners with Avaya to provide bandwidth upgrades to our customers.

2020– Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce acknowledged and awarded Northland Communications with Business of the Year.  We are proud of this accolade because our team members came together in a trying year to make this possible.

2021 – Northland invests in its core network through a partnership with Arista.  This investment enhanced our network with an increase in bandwidth capacity, speed, and most importantly, security.

While telecommunications is constantly changing, there is one thing that has remained the same, Northland’s dedication to our customers and providing them with the best end-to-end solutions through cutting-edge technology.