Althea's core premise is our "neighbour to neighbour, pay-per-forward" model. A model that revolutionizes how internet service is owned, provided and paid for. Why did we reinvent the wheel? What can Althea do that traditional ISPs cannot?
Let's take a trip to Marshland, OR - nestled between the Columbia river and the hills along the Oregon-Washington border. This gorgeous region is home to tall trees, sweeping farms and stunning river views. However, it is also home to people whose only option to get basic internet is to pay over a $100 per month to both satellite and cell service providers. A hefty price to pay for a crucial necessity.
The reason traditional methods for high speed internet are not available here is a combination of cost and location. Constructing a big tower is simply too expensive and you can't trench fiber into the dikes holding back the river. Rural areas like these are beyond the reach of traditional ISPs due to such geographic and economic hurdles.
Urban areas too can have their own share of hurdles - old buildings that can't be rewired, providers with monopoly on the right of way, precluding other solutions from filling the gaps, etc.
This is the story underlying poor or no internet anywhere you go, be it urban or rural. The factors contributing may differ but the end result is the same - the standard solutions are simply too inflexible.
Althea offers an alternative.
Althea changes this story.
Althea's combination of low cost hardware and the flexible "neighbour to neighbour, pay-per-forward" model, is not only capable of operating, but thriving in places where traditional providers cannot.
To see how we accomplish this, let's look at the Althea network currently in use in Marshland as an example.
Below is the network map of our Marshland backbone link - a seven hop load balancing link between two gateways, constructed from home to home using low cost antennas.
Our first gateway (blue star on the map) is the antenna at a computer shop in Clatskanie. Our second gateway (yellow star on the map) is the antenna at a greenhouse in Marshland.
When originally setup, these Althea gateways were islands - each with its own commerical connection, serving different networks and different customers.
With a slew of antennas (the red stars on the map), carefully aimed at each other across the landscape - we have created a bridge that allows traffic to flow back and forth, between these two islands as one unified network. Internet traffic is like water in an Althea network and it flows freely along the path of least resistance. More gateways, means more paths, more degrees of freedom and more reliability for the whole network.
This bridge not only brings internet to new customers in Marshland but provides load balancing and backup connectivity for our existing users in Clatskanie as well. They silently get the benefits of increased reliability and improved capacity as the network grows and more links are created. The network "grows" stronger. Literally.
Additionally, this system acts a distributed tower serving the whole region. We can reach almost anywhere in the general Marshland area from at least one of these antennas. The best part? It cost less than $10k to construct. Getting equivalent coverage using traditional offerings would incur around $100k in tower costs.
Althea brings together the power of high tech innovation and good old fashioned community building. It is about revolutionizing internet service to be a flexible system built by members of the community instead of a rigid system built by someone outside your community.
In Marshland, Althea goes where others could not. It's proof that local people can be a part of the solution. Building themselves better service rather than waiting for millions of dollars to be poured into stamping an inflexible solution over a local problem.
I will sign off with a beauty shot of the longest link in the Marshland - Clatskanie network that grazes the tree line and brings connectivity across this beautiful landscape.