Cherokee Communications was originally founded as Cherokee Telephone Company by local veteran and family man Bill Young.
If you wanted to call anyone in Bryan County, you'd need a large, wooden, wall-mounted magneto telephone and plenty of patience. It worked like this: first, you would wind the hand crank to generate enough electricity to contact the operator. Then, the operator rang every home on your designated party line with your unique ring in hopes that your intended contact, and only your intended contact, would pick up.
Bill’s ring was one long and two shorts: "Riiiiing... Ring! Ring!"
With loans from friends and family, Bill founded Cherokee Telephone Company in 1959. He named the company after his sweetheart Ruth Cherokee Young. Cherokee Telephone would be a family business on a path to bring their community into the modern age.
Their mission was simple yet ambitious: “Everyone who wants a phone, gets a phone.”
Over the next two years, Cherokee Telephone systematically replaced the old magneto telephones with modern phone lines. Fortunately, Bill’s friends found more inventive uses for the magneto telephones...
“He’d get in his boat,” Bill said in a video interview. “You could hook (the magneto telephone) up where you could crank it and put that charge in the water and drag it around and shock the fish ‘till they came to the surface and turned upside down! They went around scooping them up having a big time!”
For the first 34 years, we served residents and businesses in Calera, Colbert, Achille, Yuba, Bokchito, Kemp, and Cartwright. Later, we expanded to serve Stuart, Arpelar, and Atwood.
In 1993, Bill's son Dr. James O. Young stepped up to leadership for Cherokee Telephone on one condition: his mother, who the company was named for, must retire. It was nothing scandalous – he simply could not bear the idea of working for both mom and dad! She obliged, and the father and son team would continue to grow our services.
Our new location at 403 N. Service Road in Calera, OK served as home base for fully modernizing home and business telephone with a total touchtone system, offering tech otherwise unavailable to rural communities, like call waiting, caller ID, and more.
In a move to increase reliability and support our growing community, we broke ground on the area's first redundant fiber Internet ring. This would lay the groundwork for faster, more reliable service in the future.
For years, locals had limited choices for TV service. We changed that in 2009 with Cherokee TV, the first in the area to offer IPTV, or digital television delivered to the home or business over Internet lines. In Oklahoma, we know the importance of more reliable TV, especially during inclement and unpredictable weather.
Now offering phone, HDTV, and Hi-speed Internet, we renamed to Cherokee Communications in 2011.
In 2014, we announced FiberNow, the area’s first true fiber-to-the-home Internet connection, bringing the world’s fastest connection speed home to Bryan County. Capable of lightning-fast downloads, we were one of the first in the country to bring this revolutionary connection technology to rural America.
Today, Cherokee Communications continues as a family company, employing more locals to serve more communities with more modern service than ever. Although the technology continues to change, our commitment to the local community is as steady today as it was 1959.
Cherokee Communications was founded on a family promise to deliver modern technology and friendly service to our community. We seek out new technologies and improvements in our service to help grow the families and businesses that make our region great. We've come a long way in 57 years, and we hold ourselves to the same standards as when we were founded. As a family company that lives and works in the community we serve, thank you for coming with us.