Althea is proud to announce Tacoma, WA is the latest addition to its growing broadband coverage area, with installations and infrastructure investment focused in the Hilltop neighborhood. Founded in 2017, Althea’s mission is rooted in the belief that affordable broadband connectivity is a fundamental right for all people that strengthens communities, economic growth, educational opportunities, and healthcare access.
Althea is a distributed Internet Service Provider which works together with local communities and network operators to provide sustainable high speed and low cost broadband access. This is made possible by Althea’s unique technology, infrastructure, and routing protocol. Althea’s routing protocol allows the service and accounting layers of the ISP to be almost entirely automated, and maximizes bandwidth utilization (i.e. delivers lower latency and higher speeds than one would typically experience from a given network connection, when compared to a traditional ISP routing protocol). This technology negates the need for contracts, late fees, and other drawbacks of traditional internet delivery.
The mesh topology used to connect users also allows individuals to host infrastructure themselves, growing the network, and earning revenue share for doing so. This keeps value in the community, encourages community involvement, maintains low costs, and creates an ever more resilient network architecture.
Althea uses a unique pay-as-you-go payment model, making it easy for users to manage costs. Additionally, each user has access to the always-on free tier, guaranteeing they will have access to no-cost basic internet, regardless of their financial situation. Unlike traditional ISPs, Althea’s technology does not artificially throttle bandwidth or utilize speed tiers either, so users always get the maximum speed their equipment is capable of delivering. Althea users in Tacoma can expect speeds around 100 Mbps and pay, on average, around $25/month.
“Many people don’t have access to the internet, not because of availability, but costs and other barriers keep them from this vital resource.We believe internet access is a human right, which is why we provide an always-on, free tier of internet.”
Deborah Simpier, Althea CEO and co-founder
Hilltop, Tacoma was also one of the first proof-of-concept networks for Althea, partnering in 2020 with Tacoma Cooperative Network and the University of Washington to build and test community led LTE networks. Through this work in Open5GS, Althea developed KeyLTE, which is an embedded EPC inside an Althea home router, which provides flexibility to build and grow LTE/5G networks anywhere, quickly and affordably.