Most independent telephone companies began as family organizations. The companies were formed in an effort to provide service where none existed. In the United States, telephone companies formed as early as 1876; independent telephone companies have existed since the 1890's, contributing innovations and improvements that enhanced America's leadership in telephone service. Independent companies were first to develop the hand-set telephone, dial phones, pay stations, microwave transmission, direct distance dialing, rural lines, selective ringing and countless technical improvements. Many of these innovations now in use the world over were contributions of independent telephone companies in Louisiana - the majority of which are still home-owned companies.
The Louisiana Telephone Association formed in 1947 to serve the 35 telephone companies of all sizes which were part of the telephone network in Louisiana. The association name later changed to the Louisiana Telecommunications Association.
Today there are 20 telephone companies in Louisiana, of which 19 are classified as independent telephone companies, with over 20,000 employees, providing telephone service for over 2,100,000 access lines. Out of these 2,100,000 access lines in Louisiana, service for one out of every eleven is provided by an independent, home-owned telephone company.
- Must be an Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate student
- Thesis or dissertation focus on areas in the telecommunications industry
- Student's must present a report on research progress to member of the LA Telecommunication Association
- Master's student eligible for 2 years; Doctoral student eligible for 4 years