March Community Update
In the US, 65% of consumers get their internet from just two cable providers. These providers charge too much for slow service and leave behind many Americans who can’t access the internet due to cost. But what if anyone could start or grow a network? What if we could take back our choice, control, and ownership of the internet? Over the past few months, Althea has helped make that dream of ownership and choice a reality for Americans in rural Oregon, Tacoma Washington, and Denver, Colorado. More Althea networks are in the works as well - in Washington, Oregon, North Carolina, California, Pennsylvania, and many other areas. Althea’s automatic routing and billing make it easy for anyone to start a network or grow an existing one.
We are excited to celebrate the on-going success of our network in Abuja, Nigeria. Yakubu Yakubu, the network organizer, has done great work setting up the initial network of about 16 subscribers. People in Abuja had been paying very high prices for mobile only internet. Now, people can install Althea routers in their homes, pay affordable rates, and use the wifi-hotspot to sell internet to nearby mobile phones. In fact, in just a few weeks, we now have about 20 people using the Althea mobile app for their internet usage, and growing fast! Yakubu, or Yax, also just installed the first relay client, who is helping to expand the infrastructure of the network and make money for hosting extra antennas. The network continues to expand as fast as we can get more antennas shipped in.
Following the Abuja network, a new Althea network in T’adi Ghana came to life in February as a small existing WISP changed over to the Althea system. By empowering local business people to own hardware and sell to their mobile-only neighbors, the network can grow organically and be a better revenue source than a traditional WISP. Getting routers and antennas on location, continues to be the biggest difficulty in both Ghana and Nigeria.
We have been working hard to recognize the roadblocks and hurdles to starting a network and developing services to help smooth out barriers and support new and growing networks. For example, subscribers can now buy equipment with a six month payment plan at buy.althea.net, and relays and new networks can buy gear there too. We also have a new, ready-to-install “mini-mesh” package available if you are looking to try out Althea or set up a small network. Digital services, like Sling, will soon be available through website links too, so subscribers can easily sign up and “cut the cord” of their existing cable providers. We help support new networks through every part of the process, from marketing to sourcing backhaul and technical support.
Our latest release features the implementation of the Wyre widget, creating a smooth way to add-funds to the router. For the user, this feels very similar to using a debit card as you normally would to buy something, abstracting away most of the cryptocurrency aspects. This is also a benefit over using the Coinbase wallet, whose interface references investor language like “portfolio and trade”.
One of our main development focuses of the coming months will be a better developed network organizer dashboard and tools to help operators manage their network. This will be comparable (and most likely better :) ) than Ubiquiti’s offering, UNMS, and will make it easier for WISPs to integrate Althea into their existing network.
The other development focus will be to begin integration and testing of our Althea blockchain built on Cosmos. This important component will allow subscribers to use the stable currency dai to pay for their internet, while transactions are processed quickly and securely using a robust proof-of-stake blockchain.
The core of the Althea system is pay-for-forward, which allows anyone to seamlessly add capacity to the network, and the price-aware routing protocol which chooses your upstream carrier dynamically based on user choice of price and quality. Instead of the locked-in monopolistic system, Althea imagines one open network made up of infrastructure with different owners that automatically routes traffic and compensates participants. We no longer have to accept the legacy system of the lowest throughput at the highest price - Althea networks can start and grow anywhere. Is it time to start your Althea network?
Go to www.althea.net to learn more.