First Local Telephone Company Established in Star Valley
Community members, seeing the need for a local telephone company in Star Valley, Wyoming in the early 1900’s pioneered the creation of what is now known as Silver Star Communications. The first telephone company in the lower Star Valley was organized and financed by a group of ranchers and businessmen in 1926, originally the Salt River Independent Telephone Company. Silver Star Telephone Company, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Wyoming in 1948, and was first operated by Sterling Weber.
Melvin and Ardell Hoopes purchased Silver Star Telephone Company, Inc.
In 1953 Silver Star received the first Rural Electrification Administration telephone loan in Wyoming, providing funds for a modern dial system. Melvin and Ardell Hoopes, parents of current Chairman and CEO Allen Hoopes, purchased the controlling stock interest from Weber in 1956. Over the next four years, the Hoopes acquired the remainder of the outstanding stock in the corporation, and then in 1961 they expanded into Irwin, Palisades and Swan Valley, Idaho. A few years later in 1964, the neighboring communities of Henry and Wayan, Idaho were added.
Long Distance, Calling Features, Dial-Up Internet introduced
During this era, exciting developments took place in the telecommunications industry. We left behind barbed-wire communications, literally, and upgraded to a switched telephone network with long distance services and calling features like call waiting. Phone systems came into the picture enhancing business communications. Dial-up Internet completely changed the way we communicate. As new services were added we saw a need to re-brand and in 1997 we began doing business as Silver Star Communications.
Silver Star enters Afton, Wyoming
In August of 1998 Silver Star became a CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) in Afton, Wyoming, an exchange of Qwest Communications nka CenturyLink. We began our attempt to buy the Afton exchange in 1993. During a five-year period of intense litigation, Silver Star landed in the Wyoming Supreme Court and later at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington D.C. In the fall of 1997, the FCC ruled that Silver Star could enter the Afton market.
Silver Star enters Teton Valley as Teton Telecom
The opportunity to purchase Qwest assets in Teton County, Idaho was presented in the mid-nineties, and we began operating as Teton Telecom in 1997. Teton Telecom and Silver Star Communications functioned similarly but with separate identities and in 2006 the two were merged as one brand: Silver Star Communications.
High-speed Internet deployed
With the 2000's came rapid development of communications technologies, including the creation of high-speed Internet, delivered over the digital subscriber line (DSL) and also through wireless. Additionally, Silver Star invested in building a fiber-optic network to meet growing broadband demand. The evolution of fiber-optic networks and broadband service delivery has fundamentally changed the way people connect.
In August of 2004 Silver Star ventured into a world unknown with a new television service delivered via Internet protocol. The idea was to provide a competitive television service to our customers with the addition of local content. One of the pitfalls of being first to offer a new technology is that there are many unknown potential complications, many of which we were victim. Perseverance is a trait of those working for Silver Star, and technicians worked for months to improve the service ultimately providing a quality service.
Wireless network is built and wireless mobile service offered
Also in 2004, Silver Star entered the extremely competitive mobile wireless market, a natural complement to traditional voice services. Our knowledge of the local and challenging geography was key to the design of our network and an advantage of our service. We have continued to evolve by expanding our network, forming relationships with roaming carriers, and through mobile broadband services.
Silver Star receives two NTIA grants to deploy fiber-optics in Jackson
Silver Star received two grant awards from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program to complete fiber-optic projects from Jackson through Moran and over Togwotee Pass and from Jackson to Victor over Teton Pass, significantly advancing the broadband capabilities in the region and improving the reliability of communications in the State of Wyoming.