Blackfoot Communications Celebrates 70th Anniversary in 2024

(Missoula, MT) – A year-long celebration recognizing 70 years doing business in western Montana is on tap for Blackfoot Communications in 2024.  Founded in the age of “party lines” and early telephone networks, to bring basic telephone service to rural areas around Missoula, Blackfoot has grown to become a leader in digital communications and bringing the latest technology to its over 15,000 member owners. Today, Blackfoot offers technology and services to more than half of the 100 largest businesses in Montana and continues building a network of fiber-based broadband in Western Montana and Eastern Idaho.

“70 years in business is a remarkable achievement for any company, and we have so much to celebrate and be thankful for,” said Tom Eggensperger, chair of the Blackfoot Communications Board of Trustees. “The roots of our company come from neighbors helping neighbors, and that has branched out for seven decades of being a trusted partner in building connections and helping the communities we serve. While technology has changed and our company has grown significantly since 1954, we remain committed to our core values of caring for our neighbors and communities and giving them the communications tools to enhance their personal and business lives.”

Blackfoot Communications history includes stories of innovation, determination, and many firsts. When Blackfoot was founded in 1954, many rural communities lacked telephone service. By 1961, Blackfoot brought the first telephone service to Arlee, Charlo, Clinton, Dixon, Elliston, Ovando and Seeley Lake.

In 1978, Blackfoot was one of the first telephone companies to incorporate digital technology in its network. In 1980, Blackfoot developed a billing and accounting software system that would eventually be offered as a service to other telephone companies across the country. And in 1989, Blackfoot began installing fiber optic cable to improve the quality of service to its customers.

In 2017, Blackfoot embarked on an estimated $250 million, decade-long project bringing fiber-based broadband to homes and businesses across Western Montana and Eastern Idaho. In 2023, construction was completed on fiber projects in Thompson Falls, St. Ignatius, Anaconda and Georgetown Lake, serving more than 4,000 locations along nearly 1,000 miles of fiber. In 2024, Blackfoot Communications plans to continue fiber projects in Philipsburg and Plains and begin new projects in Drummond and Darby.

Blackfoot will celebrate its history and achievements throughout the year by showcasing stories of the people and organizations it is proud to serve. Learn more:

Blackfoot Communications delivers voice, broadband and fiber-based internet connectivity to homes and businesses in Western Montana and Eastern Idaho.