Glenn E. Bryant, former owner of Hinesville Telephone Company, has been elected to the Telephone Hall of Fame of the Independent Telecommunications Pioneer Association. He will be inducted April 27 at the association’s annual assembly in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Bryant’s entrepreneurial career began when he purchased Hinesville Telephone Company in 1946, serving 70 businesses and 157 residents. By 1950, with eight toll boards, the company was classified as a toll center. A year later he purchased nearby Coastal Tel in Richmond Hill, with its 50 subscribers, consolidating the two firms in 1953 as Coastal Utilities. He was among the first to computerize with IBM mainframes.
Coastal Utilities earned national media attention in 1977 entering the digital century of telephony, becoming the first to offer calls through a computer-controlled digital class-5 office. The REA borrower established another first by providing voice and data service to St. Catherines Island via a power line carrier system. Soon CUI had fiber-optic lines and began wide-area paging partnering with Southern Bell. Cellular came in 1988 and, by 1990, the company was not only totally digital, but also implemented EAS between its five exchanges and shortly afterwards had E911.
Bryant also started the first cable system in his area and served as president of the Georgia Telephone Association in 1962-63.
He remained heavily involved in the company until the time of his death at age 83 in 1999. Meanwhile, CUI was purchased by Madison Communications in 2000 and has since become part of CenturyLink, the third-largest telecommunications corporation in the U.S.
Bryant’s other contributions included some 15 various civic, political and philanthropic activities, including state senator, mayor of Hinesville, chairman of The Coastal Bank, Liberty County commissions and boards and the Georgia State Industrial Council. He received the Silver Beaver Award for distinguished service to the Boy Scouts of America and has the playing surface of the football field of Georgia Southern University named for him. His 150-acre home site in Hinesville was donated by the Bryant Foundation for development as a natural “passive park” now known as Bryant Commons and is the home of the ITPA National Office and Telephone Museum.