HAWKINSVILLE, Ga., Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ComSouth officers, directors, employees, friends, and elected officials celebrated ComSouth's 100 years of service to Middle Georgia on November 30th at the Georgia National Fairground in Perry, Georgia. Mansfield Jennings, Chairman of the Board of ComSouth, accepted a proclamation from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, read by ComSouth President and Chief Executive Officer Robert W. Krueger, congratulating ComSouth and the Jennings' family on their 100 year anniversary. Jennings said, "ComSouth has come a long way since my grandfather William Abner (W. A.) Jennings founded Hawkinsville Telephone Company in 1913, and I could not be more proud that the company has remained in our family."
Krueger said he imagines that W. A. Jennings would be amazed how far the company has come. When W. A. Jennings founded Hawkinsville Telephone Company, the predecessor of ComSouth Corporation, and began his foray into the new technology of telephony, he had a simple goal: to provide a quality service which allowed people to communicate more easily with one another. The concepts of fiber optic connectivity, high-speed internet, wireless telephones, smart phones, megabit and gigabit data speeds, television, and DVRs were not conceivable back then. There was only one product and the company served only a few hundred customers. However, Krueger feels there are aspects of ComSouth today that W. A. Jennings would recognize in spite of the technology advances. Today's ComSouth still focuses on customer satisfaction as well as quality service.
Today ComSouth provides advanced digital voice, data and telemonitoring services, as well as wireless telecommunications and cable television. There are over 14,000 customers of ComSouth in Hawkinsville, Cochran, Perry, Southern Warner Robins, Fort Valley, Marshallville, Pinehurst and Unadilla.
W. A. Jennings began as a regional manager for Western Union, covering South Georgia and North Florida. Using his burgeoning knowledge of the telecommunications business, and perhaps capitalizing on the historical and pivotal Kingsbury Commitment in 1913, wherein AT&T agreed to connect its toll lines with independent exchanges, Jennings purchased a small telephone exchange in Hawkinsville, Georgia, forming the Hawkinsville Telephone Company. It was one of the country's 8,500 independent telephone companies and was run mostly by family members.
Technical advancements brought improved telephones, circuitry, and machine switching equipment which allowed clearer calls to be made over longer distances. W. A. Jennings convinced his son, William Mansfield Jennings Sr., to forgo pursuing a professional baseball career, so W. M. Jennings Sr. moved to Atlanta to work for Western Electric in the telephone equipment switching division, in its infancy at the time.
W. A. Jennings, realizing the necessity of a forceful voice to argue rate-making matters, tariffs, etc. in front of the FCC in Washington, played a role in organizing the United States Independent Telephone Association, known as USITA, which became a very powerful association of the independents throughout the U.S., at one time comprising about 1,600 companies.
W. M. Jennings Sr. returned to Hawkinsville during the depression to join the family business, and helped the company survive the 1930s, the only decade in the twentieth century when the number of telephones in the United States decreased. Following W. A. Jennings' death in 1938, W. M. Jennings Sr. and his brother, J. C. Jennings, purchased their siblings' shares in the company. In the 1950s only a handful of employees ran the plant and commercial operation, including William Mansfield Jennings Jr., who worked part-time while in high school.
Ownership of Hawkinsville Telephone Company was passed on once again as W. Mansfield Jr. purchased his father's interest in 1971 and his uncle's interest in 1980. Under W. Mansfield Jennings Jr.'s leadership, Hawkinsville Telephone Company followed the pioneering spirit of his grandfather, W. A. Jennings, and embarked on new frontiers such as fiber optic and digital switching technologies, bringing service such as DSL internet and security monitoring to residents of Hawkinsville and Pulaski County.
In 1995, the name was changed to ComSouth Telecommunications to reflect the new era in telecommunications and diversification into new telecommunications products and services. In 1996 ComSouth formed Enterprise Communications, a partnership with another local telecommunications company, and won four C-block PCS licenses in SW Georgia and SE Alabama. Enterprise subsequently signed an agreement with Sprint PCS and built up a profitable business, which was sold back to Sprint Nextel in 2006. ComSouth purchased Sun-Tel Cable in Perry, Marshallville, and Haynesville, and also purchased Communicom Cable TV in Hawkinsville, Unadilla, Pinehurst and Cochran, providing additional telecommunication services to the Middle Georgia marketplace. ComSouth continued to grow by purchasing Valley Cable TV in Fort Valley and bringing fiber to the home.
ComSouth has established a reputation as a forward looking organization dedicated to the latest technology and giving back to its neighbors. ComSouth is known for providing world-class customer service while maintaining its hometown attitudes. ComSouth employees live, work and play in the communities they serve. ComSouth currently has four business/sales offices located at: 99 Broad Street, Hawkinsville, GA; 1357-D Sam Nunn Blvd, Perry, GA; 119 N Second Street, Cochran, GA; 128 E. Main Street Fort Valley, GA. www.comsouth.net
Michael R. Penn, VP Marketing and Sales
99 Broad Street
Hawkinsville, GA 31036