In 1989, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued cellular licenses for eleven Rural Service Areas within the state of Kentucky. Three independent partnerships were awarded cellular licenses by the FCC and agreed to work together and form a cellular network that would cover all 34 counties within their license areas. In order to provide for common management and other telecommunications services, the three partnerships established Bluegrass Cellular, Inc., and decided to jointly market the cellular service in their license areas under the name “Bluegrass Cellular.”
Five local telephone companies that continue to be the sole owners through the partnerships are: Brandenburg Telephone Company, South Central Rural Telephone Company, North Central Rural Telephone Company, Duo County Telephone Company and Logan Telephone Company.
Bluegrass Cellular was the first cellular carrier to provide analog cellular network service in rural Kentucky. Service was initiated in May 1991 with the construction of cellular sites in Bowling Green, Glasgow, Elizabethtown, Bardstown, Radcliff and Russell Springs. Since the initiation of service, the Bluegrass Cellular wireless network has grown to provide coverage to 40 counties within its license areas.
Bluegrass Cellular is committed to serving as a pioneer of wireless service in rural Kentucky. In October 1998, the company launched digital cellular services in Central Kentucky. In November 2004, Bluegrass Cellular launched 2G enhanced services on its CDMA digital 1X data network, and in late 2007, EVDO 3G high-speed data service was added to its markets.
In 2010, Bluegrass Cellular became the first regional wireless carrier to partner in the Verizon Wireless LTE in Rural America program. Under this agreement, Bluegrass Cellular will build the 4G LTE network that will fill the Central Kentucky white space in Verizon Wireless’ nationwide wireless network. The 4G LTE network is the fastest, most advanced 4G network in the wireless industry.
Bluegrass Cellular service is sold through both direct and indirect distribution channels. Bluegrass Cellular has agency relationships with more than 35 businesses to sell cellular service and has 19 company-owned retail locations to provide sales and service support to customers.
The corporate headquarters for Bluegrass Cellular is located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky at 2902 Ring Road. The headquarters building houses the office of the President, accounting, engineering, sales and marketing, support services, telecom, desktop support, materials management, customer service, networking and Internet departments. In addition, it houses a Customer Care Center for providing sales and service support to customers.
Bluegrass Cellular’s other Customer Care Centers are located in Bardstown, Bowling Green, Brandenburg, Campbellsville, Central City, Columbia, Elizabethtown, Glasgow, Lebanon, Leitchfield, Monticello, Radcliff, Russellville, Scottsville, Somerset and Tompkinsville.
Bluegrass Cellular is a member of the Competitive Carrier Association (CCA) and the CTIA – The Wireless Association.
In addition to its pioneering efforts in the wireless industry in Kentucky, Bluegrass Cellular leadership also manages two additional companies formed to provide telecommunication services—Bluegrass Network, LLC, formed in 1995 and Bluegrass Telecom, LLC, formed in 1998.
Bluegrass Network, LLC was created by the five ownership companies of Bluegrass Cellular in order to build and manage a fiber optic network that ties the five companies’ networks together and facilitates the provisioning of Internet, video and voice services. Bluegrass Network, LLC now manages more than 400 miles of fiber optic cable in south central Kentucky.
Bluegrass Telecom, LLC was launched to provide long distance telephone services to customers of the five partner companies, and today serves more than 63,000 long distance customers.