In 1907, John A. Balch, with his partners, purchased the Wireless Telegraph Co., operating among the Hawaiian Islands. In 1909, he assisted in merging this company with Mutual Telephone Co. Under his direction, Mututal acquired controlling interests in the Maui and Kauai telephone companies and constructed the Molokai Telephone System providing the Islands with telephone service from one company. Balch became treasurer, vice president, and then president of the combined companies.
During his presidency, 1925-40, he pioneered establishment of the inter-island telephone service and personally negotiated an agreement with AT&T for service between Hawaii and the Mainland by radio telephone service, thus linking the Islands to the world by wireless telephone. Balch also arranged for the construction of the necessary apparatus to complete an inter-island radio telephone system.
During WWI, he served as chairman of the District Draft Board, a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve and as district radio superintendent of the 14th Naval District, Pearl Harbor. He received the Pioneer Medal of the Veteran Wireless Operator’s Association. He died in 1951.