Two construction companies are meeting this challenge with HughesNet® satellite broadband Internet service to get the bandwidth and reliability they need at hard-to-reach and harsh locations.
For instance, an Alabama-based construction company needed to establish temporary field offices at a number of customers’ remotely located paper mills. In addition to running the project management applications, the company handles all the maintenance and repair for many of the mills. It often stations crews onsite for extended periods in order to be more responsive and deliver better service.
With no terrestrial high-speed Internet nearby, the crew lacked a reliable and secure way to exchange email and submit purchase orders, regulatory reports, timecards, invoices, and work orders back to headquarters. The company tried solving the problem with wireless mobile Internet, but the narrow and inconsistent bandwidth of the 3G network was a drag on the data and documents that needed to flow between the site and the office. "Wireless was okay for a while, but we very quickly got behind on our paperwork and were unable to dig ourselves out," said the job site superintendent. "It was not an effective way for us to conduct business."
Network reliability was another key issue. The transient nature and the often remote locations of construction projects make Internet connectivity very challenging. HughesNet solved this problem with ubiquitous and reliable network connectivity. Satellite broadband is free of the constraints of landline networks, and unlike the inconsistent coverage of mobile wireless, HughesNet is available nationwide, in even the most remote locations.
The result: the company is saving money with faster billing, work orders, and payroll cycles while eliminating redundant paperwork and data entry errors. Customers are happier having a more responsive and informed crew working for them onsite. "It was noticeable how much less time it took us to send paperwork back to the home office," said the supervisor. "We used to call the office after sending every document just to make sure they received it. We no longer have to do that and can rest easy knowing that documents are getting to the home office quickly and securely."
An award-winning construction company in Missouri had similar results. The third-generation family-owned business has served the Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas region as commercial steel building contractors for nearly 35 years. It specializes in red-iron, pre-engineered buildings for commercial, manufacturing, warehousing, agricultural, and residential industries. But it serves rural regions where dial-up Internet service was the only terrestrial network option for most job sites.
The company needed Internet connection for many day-to-day business activities, including sending out bids for new business, receiving quotes from subcontractors, getting emails to and from vendors, managing its Web site, and sometimes having to connect remotely to their home computers to obtain information.
With ten crew members and six employees in the office, the company turned to Hughes for business-grade satellite broadband service to support its growing company. Satellite service was available at all its job sites, giving the company the performance and reliability that its dial-up service lacked.
"The dial-up connection we had just didn’t get the job done," said the company’s owner. "I often drove home to submit bids and update the photos on our Web site, since I had a DSL connection there. It was a waste of time and we realized that we couldn’t run a business on dial-up."
As these examples illustrate, the Internet has become as vital to construction project efficiency as the backhoe. Construction companies need to have a data connection to crews around the clock to send plans, reports, and change orders, among other requirements. With the growing data volume and complexity of these next-generation construction applications, satellite fills the high-bandwidth gap and provides the link required to connect remote sites with the home office. Industries with similar remote site challenges—such as utility crews, oil and gas exploration, or public works departments—are starting to follow the construction industry’s lead in bringing their remote site operations into the high-speed broadband age.