Internet access is important
Getting a job. Doing homework. Staying connected. Communicating with health care providers. Entertainment. The internet is a critical part of modern life.
But there’s a problem
Over 20 percent of individuals living in urban areas like Tacoma don't have access to the internet, or they can't afford broadband. If they do have access, it's sometimes through low income packages that offer very slow connections. While the City of Tacoma owns the second largest municipal broadband network in the nation, Click! Network, this week city council voted to lease the network to a private company who will control rates for the next 20-40 years. We are disappointed about this decision, but we have a solution.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
We're launching a community-owned and controlled internet service provider here in the City of Destiny - internet for the people, by the people. Our technology allows us to avoid the expense of cables and simply beam the internet, using "air fiber" from house to house using small antennae, creating what is called a "mesh network" . This has been done successfully in both rural and urban communities around the United States and abroad.
Simply put, it is changing the world.
Our model is better for the family budget (pre-paid, and pay only for what you use) and we will never cut off internet access for lack of ability to pay. It will be a fast and smooth experience (symmetrical upload and download speeds and shortest latency of any provider in Tacoma). But more importantly, we're keeping the dollars that have previously been flowing to big corporations right here at home in the community. We're giving ourselves, as a community, full decision-making power over a critically important utility. We're taking back our internet.
You can join us
We already have one neighborhood (Southern Hilltop South of 19th) connected to the internet: installations begin at member households next week and our gateway is up and running. We need $4000 to open a second gateway and bring the internet to another neighborhood in Tacoma. This covers the costs of construction and installation to purchase a backhaul connection to a second tier internet provider who allows us to resell the internet and power our network. (We have also applied to run on the Click! Network and will keep you updated if our application is approved!)
If our campaign falls short of reaching the full goal, the funds will be used to purchase installation packages for families who qualify for our scholarship program, lighting up their house with fast and affordable internet they control.
Want to bring internet to your neighborhood? Register your interest at https://althea.net/tcn and let us know!
And here’s some amazing perks for supporting us
$5 - we'll thank you on Facebook and Twitter
$10 - get an awesome bumper sticker and show your support for community-controlled internet
$15 - get a four-pack of super cool, iconic Tacoma buttons plus a bumper sticker
$25 - get a custom printed mug (great gift idea) plus 3-pack of buttons and bumper sticker
$75 - get a t-shirt, mug, 3-pack of buttons and bumper sticker
$100 - All of the above, plus a spot on our "Thank you" page as an Honorary Founder.
$300 - At this level, you are bringing the gift of internet to a household. We will give a personalized card to a household in need with a message from you, along with covering the cost of equipment and labor.
$500 - dinner with the organizers for you and one friend. Tacoma Cooperative Network co-founder Ann will cook for you in her tiny Tacoma apartment (must love mismatched old furniture and cats), joined by other members of the board. Hear all about our big dreams for the community, and share your own!
$1000 - day trip to see a rural internet co-op with Tacoma Cooperative Network organizers. Visit Clatskanie, Oreon and tour their established and operational airfiber mesh network. Meet Deborah Simpier, one of the founders of the tech startup Althea, and see a relay that bounces a signal five miles across a remote valley to bring internet to places it has never before been available! Includes dinner at a casual restaurant.
$1500 - meet two of the founders of Althea, the software startup that powers our Tacoma airfiber mesh network. Jehan Trembeck OR Justin Kilpatrick will be joined by Deborah Simpier and will fly to Tacoma to meet you and up to three of your friends for dinner and drinks.