The Highland Telephone Cooperative Story

Highland Telephone Cooperative (HTC) is a member-owned corporation dedicated to delivering advanced telecommunications technology to the people of Morgan and Scott counties in Tennessee and McCreary County in Kentucky. HTC has two wholly owned subsidiaries. Highland Communications (HCC) provides high-speed fiber internet with speeds up to a gigabit per second. Highland Media (HMC) provides television service.

HTC operates a network capable of connecting every home, business, school and industry in the service area to optical fiber technology. The system surpasses those found in large cities.

1950's era nostalgic photo of lineman on utility pole running cable as residents watch in background.

The cooperative’s phone, television and broadband internet services, however, are not the first time HTC has taken the lead in bringing vital communications tools to the area.

During the 1950s, while much of America saw a boom of post-war prosperity and growth, rural regions struggled to have even basic phone service. Often, private phone companies bypassed rural areas in favor of more profitable towns and cities.

But Highland Telephone Cooperative was formed to address the critical need for phone service in our region.
To offer service to everyone, and to qualify for loans from the Rural Electrification Administration, HTC was formed as a member-owned cooperative in 1955. HTC began with 1,000 members, and it continues as a member-owned cooperative.

The system, which first served Scott and Morgan counties of Tennessee, now also serves McCreary County in Kentucky.

From the original group of members and the small office above the hardware store in Sunbright where it all began,

Highland Telephone Cooperative has grown to serve more than 17,000 members.

Started in 1996 and 2005 respectively, Highland Communications and Highland Media are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Highland Telephone Cooperative.

Mission Statement

“Highland Telephone Cooperative, Inc. of Sunbright, Tennessee is committed to providing quality telecommunications and related services using the latest technology at competitive rates. We will be knowledgeable about our services and strive to keep our customers informed. This will ensure the long-term future of the co-operative and its place in the community.”

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What it means to be a cooperative

Cooperatives are different from investor-owned utilities in many important ways:

  • FORMED BY YOU
    As a customer of Highland Telephone Cooperative, you are also a member and part owner of a cooperative formed by people like you who purchase our services.
  • MEMBER-FOCUSED
    While cooperatives are not driven by profit, they do exist to provide a service. Because they are not owned by Wall Street investors, cooperatives can focus on improving services their members receive.
  • LOCAL SUPPORT
    Cooperatives, which are often in rural areas, help support local job growth and economic development.
  • HOMETOWN TOUCH
    Because their employees usually live in the communities they serve, cooperatives also deliver customer service with a hometown touch.
  • LOCAL
    When members have questions about their cooperative or its services, they can usually make a local phone call or stop by a local office and talk to a local person about their concerns. It’s great to be a member of a cooperative!

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