Communicating through the Member and Leader Services (MLS) application presents many challenges for software engineers at Church headquarters. The Church has more than 28,000 units (wards, branches, stakes, districts and missions) scattered all over the world on every continent and in many remote locations. Unit leaders use MLS to send membership, finance, and other support information to Church headquarters. One of the greatest challenges is supporting the amount of information from Church units, and doing it in a way that can be maintained efficiently.
Communication and electrical infrastructure varies widely around the world from nothing at all, including no electricity, to broadband Internet connections with stable electrical systems. In most units MLS uses modem connections since telephone lines are available in the majority of Church locations around the world. Recently MLS has been able to take advantage of broadband Internet connections in some stakes. In some of the most remote locations, MLS can take advantage of satellite broadband Internet connections. Currently, 92 percent of Church units use MLS, however, only one-third of Church units that use MLS have broadband connections. In all cases, the Church attempts to use the most cost-effective means of communication to spend tithing dollars as wisely as possible.
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