Sanborn Telephone Cooperative was established in 1952, mostly through the hard work and determination of Raymond Judy, a World War II veteran who returned to his hometown of Forestburg after the war and led the effort to build a new telephone network to serve Sanborn County. Mr. Judy went on to become the telco’s first general manager, serving for 30 years until his retirement in 1985.
As a cooperative business, Santel is owned by its customers – referred to as “members.” The company is governed by a board of directors, elected by the membership. This special business model ensures that Santel always acts in the best interests of its member-owners.
In 2002, the company changed its name to Santel Communications to reflect the broadening array of telecom services it has introduced over the years, including high-speed Internet, digital television, wireless and business solutions.
Serving approximately 4,000 members in the towns of Alpena, Artesian, Ethan, Forestburg, Letcher, Mount Vernon, Woonsocket, Parkston, Tripp, and Wolsey, Santel is also a part-owner of SDN, a statewide fiber network that connects Santel to the world and provides business-class services to major enterprises, government agencies and wireless networks throughout South Dakota and the surrounding states.