Our networks connect to the internet from our geographically distributed fiber connected gateways. From these gateways community members who volunteer to host relays — additional antennas and wireless repeaters mounted on homes, businesses, and other free-standing structures — earn a revenue for helping the network expand from neighborhood to neighborhood. As more relays come online the network grows larger, faster, and more reliable, with the ability to instantly self-heal from individual relay failures.
Watch this quick video to see how it all works, and read more about Althea here!
Our networks are built and operate on the Althea platform. This technology transparently tracks data usage, and relay earnings, on a per-gigabyte rate plan (the average household can expect monthly costs around $40-$50 / light users $25-$35 / large families and heavy users $90-$100; relay hosts earn $0.01 per-gigabyte forwarded). However even when your account runs out of funds you’ll always remain connected to the internet (just at a slower, but still functional, speed). This means that you only pay for what you use, at your pace, will never receive an unexpectedly large bill, or be charged any hidden fees. Our customers will never get disconnected or sent to collections. Althea modems accepts all major debit cards. Read more about our billing model here.
Built and Operated by Your Local Community
Our organization works directly with a variety of wholesale bandwidth providers to source fiber and other high-speed connections. We them coordinate directly with the community to build a decentralized mesh network of customer owned wireless relays to provide fast broadband service where it’s needed the most. Each relay operator helps grow the coverage area by connecting their neighbors to the network. Relay operators are paid in real-time for the bandwidth they help serve to surrounding customers, rewarding those who participate in the network in direct proportion to their contribution, keeping subscriber fees inside the local economy. Read more about this in our informational brochure.
Simple, Fast, and Secure
Mesh networking is very different from your typical centralized ISP, and a little more involved. However, tech-savviness is not a barrier of entry for this system. The Althea platform provides each user with a device specialized router that handles all the ISP-like functions internally without user interaction, and provides a fully private and encrypted connection to the internet at symmetrical speeds of 100mb/s to over 250mb/s. Our experienced engineers maintain the critical stuff, so you don’t have to worry about fixing any network issues, and our team of local technicians provide a community friendly face for clean and professional installations and all customer support needs. Read about other communities already enjoying community powered broadband!
We are an organization of senior systems, network, and software engineers and veterans of the corporate ISP / telecommunications industry. We’ve taken our 50+ years combined experience and passion for technology and decided to focus it on where our skills can have the greatest impact on the communities we live in: working to close the digital divide. With over a quarter of rural america struggling to access broadband our nation is facing a crisis that requires a new solution. With our unique combination of skills, the cutting edge and revolutionary Althea platform, and particupation of the communities that are in need of fast and affordable broadband we can provide rural America with this vital lifeline service.
Our organization is actively planning and building networks throughout the Pacific NW region, targeting rural communities that struggle the most to access fast and affordable broadband service. At present we are taking pre-registrations for our the following networks in Montana and Washington:
Invest in the Future of Rural Broadband
We have recently launched an investor campaign on Crowdfund Montana to raise additional capital for the purposes of accelerating the build-out of our flagship network, the Missoula Valley Internet Co-op, assist in the launching of new networks, and fund additional projects and initiatives such as starting an endowment fund to help subsidize the cost of connecting low-income households and other demographics in need. Learn more about our offering here.
The Pacific Northwest Rural Broadband Alliance is a non-profit organization and registered 501c3 (EIN: 85-1859193)