AcenTek provides services in 20 communities in southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa and 14 communities in Michigan.
The company was formed after World War II at a time when telephone service in rural, southeastern Minnesota was inadequate. Most of the telephone lines in operation were owned and operated by groups of farmers, and it was not unusual to find party lines with as many as 30 customers on a line. So a group of farmers representing many telephone companies met in 1949 to discuss improving rural telephone service using REA loans. Their meeting led to the formation of the Fillmore County Telephone Cooperative in 1950, as a cooperative corporation for the purpose of bringing telephone service to rural southeastern Minnesota.
Acquisitions started in July 1951 when the company purchased the Ostrander Telephone Company, with that company’s 104 subscribers. From that time to 1986, the company grew as it acquired many other small telephone companies. AcenTek now has over 13,000 access lines in the Minnesota and Iowa exchanges. Adding the Michigan subsidiaries, the total is over 21,000. Employment has grown to 135 employees–93 in Minnesota and Iowa; 20 in Mesick, Michigan; and 22 in Allendale, Michigan.
Along the way, (in 1956) the Fillmore County Telephone Cooperative changed its name to Ace Telephone Association. In 1999, to better reflect the full range of communications services offered, Ace Telephone Association began doing business as Ace Communications Group.
Ace Communications Group has evolved into being more than just a telephone/communications company. So in April of 2014 Ace Telephone Association, along with its subsidiaries began doing business as AcenTek, Ascending Technology.