Case Study — 01


Legacy ISP: Crappy DSL

The USA is one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world. But many people, even in big cities, still have substandard internet access. This is because much of our infrastructure consists of outdated copper telephone and cable TV lines. This technology is simply not up to the requirements of this century. Althea allows the residents of Tacoma, Washington to install inexpensive antennas bringing high speed access to their community, and earn money in the process.
Tacoma Operators
Althea operators, Bee and Ann, work together with homeowners like David who host hardware at their homes.
Tacoma Operators
Lawn signs and other materials help spread the word along with relays who go door-to-door.

Althea: Faster, More affordable Internet — Owned by the people using it

David is a Tacoma resident who previously only had internet access at 8mbps - barely enough to stream low definition video! Bee and Ann of Tacoma Cooperative Network showed David how to install Althea equipment and connect it directly to wholesale bandwidth from an Althea partner ISP. David signed up 6 of the 12 houses on his block, who now buy bandwidth from him over Althea's network.

Tacoma Cooperative Network is an Althea operator. Bee and Ann help Althea users set up their gear (if they need help), and provide support to less tech-savvy users. Relays like David don't have to worry about support, since this is all handled by TCN. Tacoma residents connect to a high speed decentralized network, while TCN supports them with a human touch.

Technology & Topology

clatskanie Node Map clatskanie Node Map clatskanie Node Map

Gateway Node


David is connected to a fiber network owned by an Althea partner wholesale ISP. However, this network does not reach other houses in his neighborhood. But with Althea's high bandwidth antennas, David is able to resell the wholesale internet to his neighbors and earn money.

Cheryl was not able to afford home internet before. But then she connected to the Althea network through her neighbor David. Now she is able to resell the bandwidth further down the street, offsetting the cost of her own use. If she gets enough of her neighbors onto the network, it will provide her with some supplementary income.

Users connect to the network with millimeter wave antennas providing speeds of over 300mbps. Any user can easily add another antenna to start reselling bandwidth to their neighbors and earning money just like David and Cheryl.

Next   Case Study — 02


Tacoma Operators