Althea is proud to announce that Tacoma, WA, is the latest addition to its growing broadband coverage area, with deployment and infrastructure investments concentrated in the Hilltop area. Founded in 2017, Althea’s mission is based on the belief that affordable broadband is a fundamental right for all to enhance communities, economic growth, educational opportunities, and access to health care.
Althea is a decentralized Internet service provider that works with communities and carriers to provide sustainable high-speed, low-cost broadband access. This is made possible through Althea’s unique technology, infrastructure, and routing protocols. Althea’s routing protocol almost completely automates an ISP’s service and billing tiers and maximizes bandwidth utilization (i.e. provides lower latency and higher speeds than a given network connection compared to traditional ISP routing protocols). . This technology eliminates the need for contracts, late fees and other drawbacks of traditional Internet delivery.
The mesh topology used to connect users allows individuals to self-host the infrastructure, scale the network, and in return receive a revenue share. This maintains community value, encourages community participation, lowers costs, and creates a resilient network architecture.
Althea uses a unique pay-as-you-go model to make it easier for users to manage costs. Additionally, each user gets access to an always-on free tier, which guarantees access to free basic Internet regardless of their financial situation. Unlike traditional ISPs, Althea’s technology doesn’t artificially throttle bandwidth or use tiered speeds, so users always get the maximum speed their device can offer. Althea users on Tacoma can expect speeds of around 100Mbps and pay an average of around $25/month.
“The reason many people don’t have access to the Internet is not because of availability, but because of cost and other barriers moving them away from this important Internet resource.”
Hilltop, Tacoma was one of Althea’s first proof-of-concept networks to partner with the Tacoma Cooperative Network and the University of Washington in 2020 to build and test community-led LTE networks. With this work on Open5GS, Althea developed KeyLTE, an EPC built into Althea home routers that provide the flexibility to quickly and cost-effectively deploy and scale LTE/5G networks anywhere.