Wightman celebrates 115 years of communication services

June 8, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

In the business world, 20 years is a long time for a company to exist.

Thirty years is outstanding.

Wightman has been serving the region of west-central Ontario for 115 straight years and continues to grow as it services customers with home and business telephone, high-speed internet, television, and mobile services.

When phone service came to the Town of Clifford in the early 1900s, Robert Wightman, a farmer in nearby Howick Township, wanted phone service on his farm. When the provider, Bell, could not meet that request, Robert did the next best thing and started his own telephone company.

He put the poles in the ground and strung the wires himself. Eventually, he connected with 60 of his neighbours, and in 1911 he was able to connect to the Bell long-distance line.

For over 80 years, Wightman’s sole business was providing telephone service.

When the digital age approached, the team at Wightman realized that the future would be changing, and they kept up with the times.

In 1995, Wightman started providing a high-speed internet connection to rural Ontario before it was introduced to larger cities.

Currently, they are expanding their fibre system so more and more people can take advantage of high-speed internet.

Wightman held an open house at its Orangeville location on Wednesday, May 31, to celebrate their 115th anniversary and thank their customers for their support. 

“It is still a family-owned company,” explained Carol Gravestock, marketing manager at Wightman. “We cover Stratford, Clifford, Fergus, Mount Forest, Orangeville, Elora, Shelburne, Owen Sound, Hanover, and all the places in-between. We’re a small independent company but our technology is ‘fibre to the home’ technology. We’re strongly competitive with the big companies. We’re using the most modern, up-to-date technology.”

While Wightman may be considered small compared to some of the larger tech companies, they employ several hundred people, making them a sizable employer in the region. They keep their jobs in the community, including customer service, which in many large companies is outsourced to foreign counties. They also do their own servicing and don’t contract out their work, so you know who will be coming to your home.

Wightman is currently working on a project installing new fibre technology in all of Orangeville, costing approximately $60-$65 million. 

“Today, we just wanted people to come in and see that we’re here,” Ms. Gravestock explained. “We like to offer kids’ friendly fun like coloring contests when we have events like this. We’re a ‘family first’ type of company, and actually put this into action. The Wightman Family Bursary Foundation is committed to bursaries for students in technology courses in local schools. Additionally, we actively support worthwhile initiatives in the communities we are in, such as food banks, amateur sports, and other non-profit groups.”

The Wightman company is constantly growing its network of services in the region to provide communities with a trusted source of telephone, television and high-speed internet.

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