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The following information on the history
of Cincinnati Bell is found on the Cincinnati Bell corporate website at
(NYSE: CBB) is one of the nation’s
most-respected and best-performing local exchange and wireless providers, with a
legacy of unparalleled customer service excellence and financial strength.
Cincinnati Bell provides a wide range of
telecommunications products and services to residential and business customers
in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. In a recent study by J.D. Power and Associates,
the company was again ranked Number One in customer satisfaction for Local
Residential Telephone Service and Residential Long Distance among Mainstream
Users for the second consecutive year.
Previous Cincinnati Bell logo used up until
Click on today's
Cincinnati Bell logo above
to visit Cincinnati Bell's web site. (2006)
Cincinnati Bell Products & Services:
Wireless, TV, Bundles, Internet and Voice
Communications for large enterprise and government
Wireless, TV, Bundles, Internet and Voice
Fiber optic delivered TV or DirectTV (satellite)
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Cincinnati Bell History
The City and Suburban Telegraph Company, later Cincinnati Bell Telephone, was
officially incorporated on July 5, 1873, becoming the first company in the city
to provide direct communication between the city's homes and businesses.
Manufacturer and philanthropist Andrew Erkenbrecher became the company's first
president in 1874. Rates were fixed at $300 a year for one line not more than a
mile in length.
By mid-1877, when the telephone was first demonstrated in Cincinnati, the
Association was maintaining about 50 private telegraph lines between offices and
plants or residences. Customers were equipped with a simple telegraph instrument
and a code book, and young men who pedaled foot treadles served as operators and
powered the call bells.
In September 1878, the City and Suburban Association signed a contract with the
Bell Telephone Company of Boston (the nation's first telephone service and
manufacturing company) for a license to furnish Bell telephone service in the
Queen City area. The Association then became the exclusive agent for Bell
telephones within a 25-mile radius of Cincinnati.
Located at the corner of Fourth and Walnut streets downtown, Bell Telephonic
Exchange was the first telephonic exchange in Ohio and the 10th in the nation.
In 1879, the first telephone directory was published and the first line extended
across the Suspension Bridge to Covington, Ky. Women, or "hello girls" who had
to memorize all callers` names, took the place of men as operators, and 25
employees served more than 1,000 customers. A total of 145,392 calls had been
recorded for the year.
Other milestones in
Cincinnati Bell's history:
1883: City and Suburban first contracted with
American Bell (AT&T) for long-distance service (long distance being about a
1891: the first underground cable was
1903: the company name was changed to
Cincinnati and Suburban Bell Telephone.
1904: coin-operated telephones arrived in
Cincinnati. The first street phone was between Walnut and Main on Fifth Street.
1909: the company bought its first automobile
-- a major technological advance insofar as making repairs.
1913: a new headquarters building was
completed on Fourth Street between Main and Sycamore.
1915: transcontinental calls became possible.
1928: a cable to Covington was laid on the
bottom of the Ohio River.
1930: conversion to dial service started; it
was completed after World War II.
1931: the company opened its building at
Seventh and Elm streets, the "Telephone Building" in the public's mind, which
also housed the world's longest straight switchboard, with 88 operator
1946: mobile telephones were first
1952: the conversion to dial service was
completed in 1952. Cincinnati was the first of the Bell companies to become 100
1968: electronic switching and musical beeps
took over. Prosaic numbers already had replaced the traditional names of the
various exchanges. Dropping Canal, Avon, East, Central, Walnut, Beechmont,
Redwood, Main, Grandview and the rest was one of the telephone company's major
public relations headaches, but expanding usage and services dictated beeps and
1971: the company's name changes to
1973: Happy Centennial!
1976: a larger new building at Seventh and
Plum was joined to the older "Telephone Building" at Seventh and Elm.
1981: headquarters moved from Fourth Street
at Hammond Alley next door into the new Atrium One, where Cincinnati Bell
remains as the principal tenant. A year later, the old headquarters building was
razed to make way for Atrium Two.
1983: Cincinnati Bell was reorganized as a
holding company to permit entry into diversified ventures beyond the core local
1995: the "Telephone Building" at Seventh and
Elm is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Today: Cincinnati Bell Telephone provides
modern telecommunications products and services in a three-state area, including
portions of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and covering more than 2,400 square