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How rural satellite gave one woman access to the World’s best medicos


Mr Elkington, his wife and their son live on 6-acres, completely off-grid in a little town called Lower Chittering. It’s situated between the towns of Gingin and Toodyay in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region, approximately 70 kilometres north-north-east of Perth.

Mr Elkington’s wife is battling a medical condition.

Not one to give up easily, she sought and gained treatment from some of the World’s best medicos.

Their satellite connection (also known as Sky MusterTM) has enabled her to largely do this without leaving home.

Sometimes she has no choice but to leave home. She’s flown to America a number of times for surgery to treat her condition. But then she comes home.

Home is her space for recovery and a sanctuary for healing.

From home, she uses Skype to have online consultations with her specialists in America and the East Coast of Australia, as well as a specialist laboratory in Europe.

“My wife is an impressive woman,” Mr Elkington says.

“She jumped online and searched the World for the best specialists handling her condition, and then sought treatment from them

“Since then, modern technology has meant she has consultations online whenever she needs them with people around the globe.”

“You can’t fly back to America every time you need a consultation, and our satellite connection enables my wife to do what she needs to from home,” he says.


If you have a potentially life-threatening condition, we recommend you don’t move your telephone service to SkyMesh. Telstra are the only operators with a Priority Assistance Service

Living off-grid

A little over 12-months ago, Mr Elkington moved his family to their off-grid property in Lower Chittering with the goal of being as self-sufficient as possible.

They’d been living in rural settings for 4 or 5 years prior to the move and had access to ADSL then.


While they were building the Lower Chittering house, they discovered there were complicating factors with them gaining any sort of fixed wireless service.

Firstly, they live completely off-grid.

Secondly, they use solar power.

Finally, they’re in a valley and the fixed wireless signal goes right over the top of them and can’t dip down to where they live.

It’s the nbnTM co who make the ultimate decision about what sort of internet technology is available to each property. They consider things like the radio line of sight between a property and the signal tower, congestion on the closest tower, and the signal strength possible from the property.

If fixed wireless isn’t a suitable option for a property, then a satellite (Sky MusterTM) internet connection is the next option.

“By the time we moved into our new house though, the nbnTM had also moved into the area,” says Mr Elkington.

Finding SkyMesh

The nbnTM told them they were set up for satellite internet and gave them a list of available providers to check out. SkyMesh were on that list.

He did his due diligence through and spoke to a number of companies before making his final decision.

“I recognised that SkyMesh was already servicing properties in rural Western Australia and so I figured they could look after me too,” Mr Elkington says.

“I liked that the packages SkyMesh had available were flexible and could meet our needs on the run.”

The family also use their internet connection for simple things like Netflix.

“We have an 11-year old son who likes to stream videos, games and kids programming from the net, and he uses it for regular tasks like doing his homework,” says Mr Elkington.

“We started out on a lower plan than we’re on now, but we expanded it quite quickly.”

“The data available suits us. Usually, we’ll have a day spare before we run out of data when our son is on school holidays, and we’ll have half a dozen days spare at other times.”

“The extra 5GB we get every week during school holidays is really good because it’s when I come under the most pressure,” he laughs.

Internet usage at the Elkington property is definitely a family affair.

In addition to his son and wife’s internet usage, Mr Elkington – the Operations Manager at a global mining facility – also uses their rural satellite internet connection to talk to his work counterparts across the World.

“It’s been really good using satellite. I’d recommend SkyMesh to others,” he says.

“I was on ADSL before we moved here. ADSL was frustrating. I prefer satellite definitely.”

“During peak times you just couldn’t do anything with ADSL. It might be cheap, but the cabling must have been old or something. It was just slow and kept buffering.”

“Now, big storms will knock out the satellite service and that’s the only time I’ve ever had any problems,” he says.

“It’s been really good using satellite. I’d recommend SkyMesh to others.”

*All photos supplied

IMPORTANT NOTICE: While this article mentions the wonderful way in which a person was able to access global health care using rural satellite internet, this is NOT an appropriate service if you have a potentially life-threatening condition and need urgent medical attention.

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Louise Hughes
Written by Louise Hughes

Louise has had a life-long love affair with beautiful words; writing because it drives her, and reading because it feeds her soul. She's the luckiest woman alive to be able to create clever content and intelligent customer experiences for a living.

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