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RTI was founded by James Martell in 1979 as Rural Telephone Company. Headquartered in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, the company grew from the humble beginnings of a handful of rural Idaho telephone customers to more than 7,000 customers in four states. Today RTI-Rural Telecom provides a full spectrum of telecommunications services for residential and business clients that include broadband and DSL Internet services, land and wireless telephone services, and, in some areas, cable TV.
States RTI serves include Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Services rates, plans and features vary from state to state due to the highly regulated nature of the industry. In every case, RTI strives to provide the best quality products and services available today.
The support of the Universal Service Fund (USF) makes it possible for RTI to provide services to the otherwise unserved and under-served rural communities we serve. Their support continues to help RTI upgrade existing services and offer new services to those living in the more rural and remote areas the company serves.
1979: Company began with a handful customers in rural Idaho. Phone cable routes were walked by foot.
1985: Boise River and Prairie were added to Idaho’s service area. Service territory expanded to include Jarbidge and Red Rock, NV.
1988: North Fork and Tuscarora, NV exchanges acquired. The area included two of the largest ranches in the U.nites States and several large gold mining operations. Systems known as “shared/sometimes” meant they were less than totally reliable, as they were shared with teething coyotes and itchy cattle.
Tipanuk and Atlanta, ID was also added to RTI’s service area. Between these two towns that lay between Mountain Home and Boise, there were a mere 50 residents sharing 391-square-miles. Getting service to them was no easy task. Especially in Atlanta, which boasts only two roads in or out—one of which is closed in the winter and the other one that is only open when the snow isn’t too deep.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission turned to RTI to restore existing but deteriorating services to the Shoup Idaho area, where magneto phones and aerial cable strung on whatever was handy were the norm. The area runs along 60 miles of Idaho’s famous River of No Return in the Frank Church Wilderness area that is famous for its natural beauty, plentiful fishing, and exhilarating white water rafting.
1990: New digital phone system installed in the Shoup service area attracts Rural Electrification Administration (REA) dignitaries and national media attention.
1997: RTI purchases Pend Oreille Telephone Company in Ione, WA from GTE. First fiber lines installed in Pine, ID.
2004: RTI purchases Nehalem Telecommunications, which was originally founded in 1904. Service area includes Nehalem, Manzanita, and areas throughout northern Tillamook County, OR.