The Kaplan Telephone Company was formed in 1916. The company was built and operated by Mr. M.I. Ramsey of Gueydan, Louisiana. Mr. Ramsey held the company for only two years before selling it to Mr. Elliot J. Hebert in 1923. Mr. Hebert and his family operated the company until 1952.
In March of 1952, Mr. Lytle C. Turnley, originally of Baton Rouge, bought the Kaplan Telephone Company. On April 20, 1952, Mr. Turnley began ownership and management of the company. In 1952 at the time of the takeover, there were 407 telephones in Kaplan and 70 farmer owned lines. Between 1952 and 1953, the telephone system was improved by changing from the old Magneta Switchboard to a more modernized common battery or "Flash" Switchboard. At this time, customers could pick up their phones rather than crank them. Subscribership increased to 800.
In 1955, the telephone office moved to its present location on Irving Avenue. Also, another change took place; the company converted to the dial system. The operator now located a party by number rather than name. By November 1956, the conversion was completed and rural lines were built as far as Forked Island. 90% of farmer owned lines had been converted to company owned lines. Kaplan was one of the first smaller towns to convert to the dial system. Telecommunications service expanded to 1,243 telephones in the area. A modernized telecommunications industry in central Vermilion Parish was no longer an obscure vision - it was a reality.
During the years of 1957 through 1959, telephone service was completed in Pecan Island. The introduction of the first "mobile" car telephone took place. At the end of 1964, there was a complete central office and switching system in Forked Island. Telecommunications service had been expanded to 300 telephones in that area.
The beginning of the 1970s ushered in many improvements in both telecommunications equipment and services. By 1974, interest revived in the mobile car telephone and other types of services for the Kaplan Telephone Company. Also, the company instituted the currently popular paging system. The decision was made in 1979 to convert the entire phone system to a digital system. With the "new" digital system numerous features were added such as: Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, and Hot Lines. The digital conversion was complete by the end of 1981 in the Forked Island and Pecan Island area.
In 1985, telecommunications service was extended to Freshwater City, on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. The 1990s have brought tremendous change to the telecommunications world. In early 1990, Kaplan Telephone Company entered into the wireless communications world with a new company called; PACE Cellular Communications. PACE serves the entire parish of Vermilion with numerous products such as: cellular communications, and voice mail.
The 1990s have been called the Information Age because of the tremendous popularity of the Internet. In August 1996, Kaplan Telephone began its Internet service called KaplanTel.net. In July of 2000, KaplanTel.net subscribers had the option of switching from their current dial-up accounts to new High Speed Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) accounts. Today, this service serves many customers throughout Vermilion Parish with access to the Information Superhighway.
The new millennium has brought extreme change to the telecommunications industry. In 2001, KTC Telecom expanded it’s fiber optic network into Abbeville to serve business customers with state of the art broadband communications. In 2003, PACE deployed advanced digital communications cellular service ("GSM”) throughout our service area to capitalize on the growing demand for digital voice and wireless broadband opportunities. Also, in 2003, cable television was rolled out in the form of IPTV, an advanced all IP based television service that provides not only digital television services but also HD TV services.
In 2005, we began to "future proof” our communications network by deploying fiber optic technology to every home in Kaplan. This ambitious deployment opens up our community to advanced cutting edge technology that provides new opportunities in economic development that surrounding communities do not have access to. In addition, this positions Kaplan as one of the few communities in the United States with such an advanced and robust communications network.
Recently, KTC Telecom rolled out another service in the form of Security & Surveillance technology. We can know provide alarm monitoring and camera installation to safeguard our customers throughout Vermilion Parish. The addition of these services crowns KTC as one of the few telecommunications providers in the Gulf South with a holistic and true one stop shop resource for our customers.
In the near future, KTC & PACE are planning to build 3G & 4G wireless services for our customers. Such services along coupled with new and exciting wireless smartphone solutions will provide tremendous for business and residential customers throughout Vermilion Parish.