Since 1951, United Wireless and its parent company, United Telephone Association, Inc., have covered Southwest Kansas when the big phone companies weren’t interested in serving people in rural areas. In fact, a group of farmers in Ford and Gray counties formed the association back when Southwestern Bell didn’t want to extend coverage outside of Dodge City.

In the early days, people shared “party lines” with other homes — you could listen in if you were so inclined. And if you needed to use the phone yourself, you better hope nobody on your line was using it at the same time, or you were out of luck. (A six-minute limit on calls was a very popular policy.) Over the years, to the regret of gossips all over Southwest Kansas, party lines disappeared as capacity to serve individual homes grew.

As the pace of technology and the demands of our customers grew, so did our services. In 1983, a spin-off business, United Communications, began providing cable TV service, and in 1997 they made Internet dial-up available to subscribers. In 2000, DSL service rolled out.

In 2005, United Wireless, with more towers and better coverage than any other provider in Southwest Kansas, began bringing the latest technology to customers, including today’s gold-standard 4G LTE coverage.

Our headquarters remains in the 1100 block of McArtor Road in Dodge City — although it’s grown some since 1966 when we first built there. If you need a landmark, we’re right next to the South Drive-In Theatre, which we bought in 2012 when it was in danger of closing. We upgraded the technology and made some other improvements, and once again it’s a great place to spend a beautiful summer evening with a carload of your closest friends watching the latest flicks.

Over the decades, we’ve sponsored almost too many community events and assets to count, let alone list — everything from summer baseball to the United Wireless Arena — because we live here too, and we want our hometowns to be great.

Come visit us in one of our 17 locations so you can see for yourself how invested we are in Southwest Kansas. We look forward to meeting you.