Thousands of households in rural America have yet to transition into the age of high-speed Internet access for a very good reason: no availability of DSL or cable. Because the economics of adding DSL or laying cable in sparsely populated areas doesn’t provide a sufficient return on investment, it could be years before many rural Americans have access to the information superhighway. Increasingly, many stuck on slow dial-up are turning to high speed satellite Internet (similar to satellite TV) as a solution.
Available today from several providers, satellite Internet requires a separate dish antenna mounted at the customer’s home, along with cable running to a satellite modem that connects to a personal computer. Previously this required an upfront investment of hundreds of dollars for home equipment, which also required professional installation. Other drawbacks included reliability issues due to weather related problems, and difficulty in scheduling rapid service calls.
To overcome these challenges, brothers Dwayne & Michael Hay founded SkyWay USA in rural Jackson, Kentucky. For less than $100, the SkyWay USA system can be ordered online, shipped directly to your home, and self-installed in a matter of hours. Coupled with an entry-level service fee of $29.95/month, SkyWay USA touts itself as rural America’s low-cost satellite Internet provider.
“We’ve even had a 69 year old grandmother install the system”, reports SkyWay USA CEO George Dick.
Since the test launch this summer, hundreds of customers in rural areas across America have signed up for SkyWay USA. Dick, a successful entrepreneur working from SkyWay USA’s new Louisville, Kentucky headquarters believes that is just the beginning. Industry estimates are that 10 million American homes do not have access to DSL or cable. SkyWay USA plans on growing to 10,000 customers by this summer, and over 100,000 customers by 2009.
Shipments of the newest version of the external satellite modem (nicknamed “The Jackrabbit”) are ramping up. Designed and made in Sweden, SkyWay USA owns the exclusive marketing rights in North America. Keeping jobs in small town America is important to SkyWay USA, so it was a “no-brainer” when they chose Winegard Corp. in Burlington, Iowa to mass produce the special 28″ dish antenna.
Installation has been greatly simplified with the help of a proprietary device called the “SkyBeeper”, which emits a high-pitched tone as the homeowner points the dish antenna at the satellite. There’s no software to load, and SkyWay USA works equally well with Windows, Mac, and even Vista. Most importantly, because SkyWay USA utilizes a special hybrid technology, the annoying rain-fade suffered by satellite TV and other satellite Internet systems has been virtually eliminated.
SkyWay USA continues to operate their tech support and customer service at the Jackson, KY location. “Bringing high-tech jobs to rural America is one of our proudest achievements”, proudly states founder Dwayne Hay, born and raised in nearby Hazard, KY. “We believe rural Americans should be helping rural Americans. We wouldn’t dream of outsourcing something as important as customer service to a call center in Asia.”
You can contact SkyWay USA for service at www.skywayusa.com or by calling (866) 697-5992. SkyWay USA, LLC is headquartered at 1302 Clear Springs Trace, Louisville, KY 40223.
About the Author
Liz Dick is the Marketing Manager for SkyWay USA. She has been working there for 2 months.