Happy Anniversary to Us!
Watch Communications is celebrating its 30th Anniversary! In May 1992, we installed a round antenna on a tripod at our first customer’s residence, which was in Columbus Grove. The equipment is still there!
Originally called W.A.T.C.H. TV Company, we’ve obviously expanded since then to offer high-speed internet and other services. But our commitment to rural communities remains as strong as ever. We’re still headquartered in Lima, OH, but our original office was the front half of a rented building on Allentown Road.
“We had a really cool neon sign in front of the building,” said Mike Birkemeier, who was the company’s Installation Manager and still works for Watch as an RF Engineer. The other staff was comprised of a General Manager, Office Manager, Chief Engineer, and a Contract Installer who had to use his own vehicle as the company’s “fleet” which was a van with a mobile tower for signal testing, new installations, and service calls. Service at the time was limited to 12 satellite video channels, and basic service was limited to nine channels. There was one pay-per-view channel.
Watch expanded to provide broadband internet in 1998, which built onto the legacy of the Benton Ridge Telephone Company to close communications divides for rural communities. Benton Ridge is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, and it looks great for its age! Benton Ridge continues to provide telephone services as well as TV and internet to customers.
“Closing the digital divide is a critical issue in 2022 that has been amplified by the pandemic and other economic factors,” said Chris Daniels, President and CEO of Benton Ridge Telephone Company and its subsidiaries. “The Benton Ridge Telephone Company was founded in 1902 to provide telephone services to unserved Ohioans. We continue this work today by providing broadband, television, and telephone services to Americans in rural communities in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky.”
Since our founding in 1992, we’ve expanded from Ohio into Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. We’ve acquired smaller ISPs and also developed partnerships with Chambers of Commerce, municipal governments, and private companies. Our broadband internet service has been engineered to provide services via radio signal to overcome the terrain challenges that are so common in rural areas. Our network utilizes the most recent technologies, and our customers are provided with an advanced reception antenna, affixed to their home or property.
We’re so proud of the work we do to close communications and digital divides for rural communities. Thank you to our employees, who are our greatest resources, and to our customers – we appreciate you so much.