TTA Member Profile: DTC Communications

Posted: October 13, 2016



Chris Townson

Number of Employees:


Number of Access lines:


Exchanges served:

Auburntown, Alexandria, Liberty, Norene, Gordonsville, Milton, Smithville, Temperance Hall, Woodbury and Woodland.

Recent News:

DTC Communications has seen many changes this year, including a change in leadership with the naming of Chris Townson as the cooperative’s new CEO.

As Townson takes the reins, plans are underway for more expansion with the company’s fiber network.

Townson is a firm believer in the cooperative business model. He was born and raised in Northeast Alabama, in an area served by both a rural electric and a telecommunications cooperative.

Townson went to work for Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative, based in Rainsville, Alabama, in the fall of 1994 and worked his way from the ground up. In 22 years, he worked with information systems, industry relations and government affairs. His most recent senior management responsibilities there before leaving to join DTC included serving as assistant corporate secretary and manager of customer service and support. In this role, he led employees in all functions of the cooperative’s local and competitive operations with respect to customer service, sales and support activities.

Towson’s experience will serve DTC well.

“I’m excited to join a member-owned cooperative that has a great legacy of providing the services our customers need to stay connected,“ Townson says. “The people of DTC have built a strong company that offers valuable services to its communities.”

DTC was formed in 1951 to provide basic telephone services to the rural areas of Alexandria, Liberty and Temperance Hall in Middle Tennessee at a time when no such services existed. The cooperative has progressed to offer advanced communication services, including internet access, high-speed data services, wireless phone service, special calling features, voicemail, DTC TV and security services. The cooperative’s service area has expanded to include Auburntown, Norene, Gordonsville, Milton, Smithville, Woodbury and Woodland.

DTC has a strong role in the communities it serves.

“We believe in being a good neighbor, in giving back to the people we serve by supporting and being involved with our local schools, ball teams and other community groups and events,” Townson says.

DTC airs many local events on its channel, DTC TV, including football and basketball games throughout the season.

DTC’s first major technological transition was from 1968 to 1974, when DTC moved from eight-party line phone service to private lines. The cooperative began digital switching in the 1980s. Later in the decade, DTC won a lottery to become licensed to provide cellular service in an eight-county rural area in Middle Tennessee.

In 1995, DTC was one of the early companies to begin providing internet service, and the technology literally changed the face of the cooperative.

The company is committed to delivering advanced high-speed internet, but advances in the fiber optic network are needed. To achieve its goals, an extensive network buildout is required. “It’s going to take a substantial investment of time, money and effort to deploy, but it is essential to meet future needs,” Townson says.

While DTC has already installed advanced DSL systems, along with fiber optic lines in portions of the region, a more fully developed fiber optic network is necessary to give additional households and businesses access to advanced high-speed internet. “I’m proud that DTC’s cooperative model has served this area’s needs for more than six decades,” Townson says. “And now we are refocusing on providing the region’s most advanced high-speed broadband network so our Middle Tennessee communities may thrive for future generations.”