Company History

For more than 110 years, a commitment to excellence has been the hallmark of Northland Communications.

Oneida County Telephone Co (OCRT), a third generation family business, is the parent company of the Northland Communications group of companies. With a rich history, deeply rooted in the communities we serve, we are committed to providing a great customer and team member experience.

The story of Oneida County Rural Telephone started at a meeting at the Camroden Schoolhouse in October of 1904 when Ellis Jones convinced 10 of his friends and neighbors to start a telephone company for the purpose of sharing the 1904 Presidential Election results. Theodore Roosevelt won the election, and Central New York won a new telecommunications company.

The company was officially incorporated as Oneida County Rural Telephone in June of 1905. Mr. Jones served as the manager up until 1926, when Peter E. McCarthy acquired the company. The McCarthy family still owns and operates the company.

We have evolved from humble beginnings, offering party line service, to today providing telephone and broadband services over our fiber to the home network in the communities of Holland Patent, Stittville, Floyd, Steuben, Westernville and portions of Marcy.

In the 1960’s, Peter E. McCarthy II and Jeremiah O. McCarthy assumed leadership and started next chapter in OCRTs history. Pete focused his efforts on the outside plant and Jerry focused on the business side. They both saw opportunities to grow the business and started multiple initiatives such as McCarthy Brothers, providing outside plant construction services to other independent telephone companies, AllPage, a paging company, Advantage Cellular, the first cellular telephone services provider in Oneida County through a joint partnership with several other telephone companies, as well as the Northland group of companies.

Today, the 3rd generation of the McCarthy’s is leading Oneida County Rural Telephone with the same commitment to our customers, community and team members that we have had for more than 110 years.

We are very proud to be part of the independent telephone industry. Like OCRT, the industry is made up of multi-generational family owned businesses that focus serving the needs of their customers and community. In New York, this is shown in the majority of independents being recognized by the New York State Public Service Commission for their quality of service in their annual Service Accommodation Awards. Many of these companies have been recognized every year since the program was started.