Nathan B | Elmer, Louisiana
Surrounded by wildlife preserves in an area crisscrossed with creeks, ponds, and lakes, the town of Elmer is a classic Louisiana bayou community. Between the landscape of trees draped in Spanish moss and the warm weather, it's a perfect place for people who like country living.
One of the only drawbacks to Elmer's location in this age of digital communications is limited options for Internet access. Nathan and his wife Sandy run two businesses – a truck brokerage and a satellite service company – and educate their three children from their Elmer home. All three children rely heavily on Internet access.
The businesses need email, file transfers, remote customer set-ups and service, invoicing, purchasing, and placing advertising orders. The family's home-schooling software package requires a fast Internet connection so the kids can use features such as chatting with teachers and going on virtual field trips to places like the Smithsonian.
Nathan and Sandy also like to stay in touch with friends and family through social media and to stream movies from online services, which is impossible without high-speed Internet. Landline Internet access is limited in Elmer. Where available, it is slow and unreliable.
"We do have landline Internet access in our area, but it's low quality," said Nathan. "It's only 1.5 Mbps rural DSL. The latency is even worse than the download speeds. It was murderously slow with the home schooling software. We had to split the kids up so only one of them was on the Internet connection at a time. We begged the phone company to update their line in this area – they could have added 30 customers – but they wouldn't do it."
Nathan and Sandy started using high-speed HughesNet Gen4 satellite Internet service in November 2012. HughesNet Gen4 delivers download speeds of up to 15 Mbps and monthly data allowances up to 40 Mbps. The high performance enables them to run their businesses and educate their children all at the same time, with no logjams.
"The speeds are awesome. My wife can be on the computer or working with all three kids remotely at the same time."
"The speeds are awesome. My wife can be on the computer or working with all three kids remotely at the same time. They each have a computer in their rooms, and we also have two iPads and two laptops. We've never had a problem with the bandwidth; no one has ever yelled 'turn that off!' because the Internet slowed down."