History of Wes-Tex Telephone Cooperative
Wes-Tex Telephone Cooperative, Inc. was organized on January 5, 1950, under the direction of the board of directors of Cap Rock Electric Cooperative for the purpose of providing telephone service to rural members in West Texas. O. B. Bryan, manager of Cap Rock Electric Cooperative, served as interim manager of Wes-Tex Telephone Cooperative.
Wes-Tex borrowed $456,000 from the Rural Electrification Administration on April 18, 1952, and began constructing telephone plant to serve 880 members in Glasscock, Howard, Martin and Midland Counties. Four XY step offices and 416 miles of telephone cable were installed to create the Luther, Lomax, Lenorah and West Stanton Exchanges. The first telephone call was completed on April 30, 1954.
Wes-Tex purchased the Ackerly and Knott Exchanges on November 2, 1956 from SCVACK Telephone Co., adding Dawson and Borden Counties to the Cooperative’s service area. The Vincent Exchange was added in 1959, and the Garden City and St. Lawrence Exchanges were purchased from Glasscock County Telephone Co., in 1960, expanding the Cooperative’s service area to Glasscock and Reagan Counties.
In 1965, the Cooperative converted from an eight party system to a four party system and replaced the aerial open wire system with buried telephone cable. In the 1970s, the Cooperative separated from the operations of Cap Rock Electric Cooperative and appointed Glenn Gates as the general manager. The Cooperative added 1+ dialing, a new headquarters building and single party service in this decade. In 1978, the Cooperative purchased Coahoma Telephone Co., adding the Coahoma and Sand Springs Exchanges and nearly doubled the subscribers served. Charles Butler was appointed as manager in 1979.
The 1980s brought digital switching to the Cooperative, and in 1987 created Texas RSA 8 which would lead to the formation of Wes-Tex Telecommunications, the operating company of Westex Wireless, a pioneer in providing cellular service in the Cooperative’s service area. The Cooperative retired its first round of capital credits in the late 80’s.
The Cooperative installed its first fiber optic cable in 1998 and appointed J.R. Wilson as general manager in the same year. The Cooperative’s subsidiary, Wes-Tex Telecommunications invested in a partnership in 1998, named Alamosa PCS which later became a publicly held company that was later acquired by Sprint PCS. Wes-Tex Telecommunications began providing long distance service in 1999 and also began providing local telephone service in Big Spring and telephone and Cable TV Stanton in 2000. Wes-Tex Telecommunications purchased Crestar Communications, a local Internet service provider, in 2000. In 2008, the cellular assets of Westex Wireless were sold to AT&T, ending a twenty year history in that industry.