What’s the oldest company you did business with today?
Would you be surprised to learn that it might have been your internet service provider?
In 1898, the internet wasn’t even on the horizon. If you needed to send a message a long way, it would probably be relayed by a telegraph operator tapping in Morse code. The president of the United States was William McKinley. And Henry Ford was still 10 years away from inventing the Model T.
But that’s when the company you now know as D&P Communications was born.
D&P began as the Deerfield Farmers Telephone Company. The company was owned by its subscribers: Every household with a phone had one share of Deerfield Farmers Telephone Company stock.
When D&P’s president, Dave LaRocca, joined Deerfield Farmers Telephone Company in 1976, he was one of just five employees. The communications industry was much less advanced then than it is today. Ditches were dug by hand. Wire was hand-pulled. Manual posthole diggers were used for burying poles.
Dave can remember one winter when it got so cold — 22 degrees below zero — that, after a truck ran through a pole at Ida West and Petersburg Road, he had to light a fire to thaw the ground before he could dig a hole to set the new pole.
When Dave became the president of Deerfield Farmers Telephone Company in 1988, the company still just provided telephone service to Petersburg and Deerfield. The switching system took up two 20-foot by 10-foot rooms in each town. Today, all of the switching for our entire system can be done by a single switch that takes up a small amount of rack space at our Petersburg data center.
It was during the 1990s that the company started offering cable television and internet services. That’s also when the name changed to D&P Communications. And in 1995, we became the first company in the entire country to deliver voice services over cable wiring instead of copper.
During the 1990s and 2000s, D&P’s network and service areas continued to expand, ultimately taking over areas previously served by Charter Communications — thus bringing internet and phone service in those communities closer to home and boosting the Lenawee and Monroe County economies through local ownership.
In 2014, D&P merged with another company with a proud tradition of local ownership: TC3, which was founded in 1991.
TC3’s founder, Joe Mattausch, had been working as a computer technician for Typewriter Sales and Service when that company decided to get out of the computer business. He struck out on his own and founded the Computer Care Company, which changed its name to TC3Net in 1995. From its roots in selling and servicing computers, TC3Net branched out into providing internet service at a time when 14kbps dialup modems were top-of-the-line. D&P and TC3 served southeast Michigan communities side-by-side for a number of years before joining forces.
Today, D&P provides cable TV, high speed internet, wireless internet and home phone service to Adrian, Britton, Hudson, Tecumseh and many more communities, with new areas coming online all the time. We have five local offices in Adrian, Dundee, Petersburg, Blissfield and Tecumseh, which means when you call us, you can always get in touch with a real, local person.
Our philosophy has always been to think ahead, build things to last, and avoid taking shortcuts — everything you expect a business with deep roots in the community to do.
A lot has changed in the last 117 years. But one thing hasn’t: Our commitment to providing quality service and great value to people in our community.