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Conexon's Internet Grant Winner

7:11AM July 13, 2021

Renee Aufdenberg and her husband have both lived in the SEMO Electric Cooperative service area for their entire adolescent and adult lives, so they’ve seen many different internet services try – and fail – to provide the area with stable, reliable service. Dial-ups, satellites, line-of-sight towers, and mobile hotspots didn't make the cut for the Aufdenberg family to effectively run its dog breeding business, attend virtual cattle auctions, or connect with family members safely throughout the pandemic. Aufdenberg and her husband would drive through their fields just to find a signal strong enough to bid at virtual cattle auctions. If a storm came through, service would drop completely and if damage had been done, it would take at least a full week to regain internet service.


Between their two businesses and having grandchildren in and out of the house, GoSEMO Fiber internet was a must for their family. Since receiving service in May 2019, Aufdenberg often reflects that she doesn't know how she'd go back to life before high-speed broadband. During the pandemic, her high school grandson was able to come over and do his homework, and Aufdenberg who regularly watches her preschool-age grandchildren, has taken advantage of endless options for educational resources to teach and entertain.


“If it hadn't been for GoSEMO Fiber, none of this would have worked,” Aufdenberg said. “Our old service only worked if all conditions were right, which didn't happen often.”


A reliable internet connection has also allowed Aufdenberg and her husband expand their dog breeding business and maintain their family farm. Aufdenberg has a consistent waiting list of people wanting to adopt her dogs, and fiber internet has allowed her to buy dogs from overseas, collaborate with a Serbian dog trainer, and video chat with customers so they can choose their puppies. Fiber internet is also powering security cameras on their property, which allows her to watch their barn lot and dog pens without leaving the comfort of her home.


“It’s been a game changer all around for our family,” Aufdenberg said. “Now, someone in the household is always using the internet and able to do what they need immediately rather than waiting 15 minutes for just one webpage to load.”

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