For Boston-area resident Nasser Azadi and his wife, Pat, the family’s rural Pennsylvania farmhouse is a refuge from the business of city life.
“It is my sanctuary,” he said. “We have 102 acres there. I am blessed.”
The nearest community is the tiny northern Pennsylvania borough of Dushore — home to the county’s only stoplight. The area is rural and picturesque, accented by farms, wineries and hiking trails.
For the Azadis, the farmhouse has much more than pastoral appeal — it’s a piece of family history. The property has been in the family since the 1850s, and Azadi says it will stay that way. It will be handed to their son and grandchildren, with the stipulation that it be preserved and not sold or subdivided. It is also culturally significant; the house that originally stood on the site was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
For the Azadis, visiting the farmhouse is a relaxing contrast from the urban lifestyle of their primary home near Boston. Whenever the couple’s work schedules allow it, they make the five-hour drive to Pennsylvania.
To do that and still be connected to work, they rely on Viasat as their internet service provider. Satellite connectivity is available just about anywhere, but it’s key for many people in hard-to-reach communities. It allows the couple to visit their second home on a more regular basis.
Azadi is a senior network engineer with a national IT services company. His job is to ensure networks are working properly, which requires constant access to a high-speed, reliable internet service.
“I monitor about 6,000 workstations remotely, servicing lawyers, accountants, and other professionals,” he said. “We use a remote application that tells us the health of the server remotely. So, we monitor the service, take care of backups, patch the service when needed.”
That work follows him to the farmhouse.
“We have large clients nationwide whose servers have to be up all the time, and I need to be able to monitor and service them remotely,” he said.. “Using my Viasat Internet service enables me to do that.”
Azadi’s wife is an attorney, who also needs reliable connectivity when she’s out of the city.
But traditional land-based internet service providers don’t offer service in many parts of rural Pennsylvania.
“Comcast or Verizon only offer service on main streets, where the houses are close to each other,” Azadi said. “And our house is about 4 miles from the center of Dushore. There are no services there.”
Azadi said most people in the area rely on DSL service. DSL uses existing copper phone lines to transmit internet signals. With copper wires, signals become weaker with distance, and weather conditions can further degrade those signals.
“With DSL, the best I could get was 3 megabits per second down and a half up on a good day,” Azadi said. “I tried a Verizon hotspot; that was not a good solution.”
“So I searched for internet service providers, and Viasat was one of the options. It also had the best price. I was very pleased when I found it.”
Installation was done quickly and when it was promised, Azadi said, “which is tough to come by these days.”
“I started with an up to 12 Mbps plan; once I figured out it was a nice, reliable service, I upgraded to up to 25,” he said. “And when we go for the summer, I plan to take the up to 50 Mbps.”
Azadi said the 25 Mbps, Viasat’s Silver plan, is perfect for he and his wife. Azadi works during the day and the couple streams movies at night.
“Viasat allows me to take care of my clients and service their servers remotely in an adequate time, with the speed required for me to work,” Azadi said. “Going from a 3 Mbps to 25, the speed seems exponentially 100 times faster. And I’m paying the same amount. It’s great.”
The farmhouse is also the family gathering place. The couple’s son and three grandsons came for a Christmas celebration. It’s when they visit more regularly in the summer that Azadi plans to upgrade to the up to 50 Mbps plan to meet the demand for more data.
Additionally, Azadi has set up remote monitors at the farmhouse that are powered by Viasat. Running Internet of Things devices like these are often essential for second-home owners who want to keep an eye on things from afar.
“I have remote monitors at my house so I can see if there’s any flooding and control the heat,” he said. “I have cameras that allow me to watch for deer and bears.
“Before, it would be snowing here (in Boston) and I wouldn’t know what’s happening there. If there was a power outage in that area, I’d call my neighbor and ask, ‘Do you have power?’ And if they did, hope that that meant we did, too.
“Now, I can see the thermostat remotely. It gives me a much better level of comfort knowing the heat is on. I not only have the peace of mind to work from there, but also to do my own remote monitoring.”
Azadi’s so happy with the service, he’s spreading the word to his neighbors.
“Everyone I see in Dushore, I tell them I have Viasat,” he said.