Althea launches in Hilltop, to help bring faster, cheaper internet service to neighbors

Althea, a system that enables communities to build and maintain their own decentralized internet infrastructure, announced the upcoming build out of new network in Hilltop. The Tacoma Cooperative Network was formed after successfully hitting its target of obtaining 100 pre-registrations from the community, and is one of the first Althea networks to launch in an urban area.

“Tacoma residents often have limited choices for internet service, which results in slow speeds and a lack of flexible options,” said Bee Ivey, Executive Director of Tacoma Cooperative Network. Ivey notes that they are concerned the city’s recent decision to lease the municipally-owned broadband network, Click!, could lead to increased rates and less competition.

The Tacoma Cooperative Network (TCN) offers an answer. Tacoma residents can now join TCN, a non-profit registered with the State of Washington, as a member, where they have a say in how the service is run. Users will receive the internet via a small antenna on their roof and a smart router, which selects the cheapest, best connection available and pays the bill – all automatically. Members only pay for what they use, so they can control the cost of their service with no contract. The average speed is 100 Mbps, with costs around $40 month.

“Our community has faced a multitude of issues accessing reliable, affordable internet,” said Ann Dorn, Organizer at Tacoma Cooperative Network. “We’ve talked to several people who live in areas where there’s only one service provider, which is either too expensive, or too slow. We’ve also talked to people who have many options but can’t afford them because they don’t qualify for the low income, throttled plans. This is why we launched the Tacoma Cooperative Network which focuses on people, not profits. We invite residents to join us as a member, not as a customer, so they can help shape the service to best serve their needs.”

“We’re passionate about building democracy and changing lives by making the internet affordable and accessible,” said Bee Ivey. “We have structured ourselves to be member-owned and run, so this is truly internet for the people, by the people.”

Residents are encouraged to visit www.althea.net/tcn and pre-register to show their interest. When enough pre-registrations have been submitted from any particular area, TCN will begin the process of rolling out services in that neighborhood.

About Tacoma Cooperative Network: Tacoma Cooperative Network exists to give the community democratic access to fast, reliable, secure, and inexpensive internet, while bringing people together to participate in their community.

- Tacoma Cooperative Network