This week on the Community Broadband Bits podcast Christopher speaks with Deborah Simpier, CEO of Althea. Althea offers software and tools for communities looking to build and maintain sustainable networks.
Althea works by installing custom firmware on the routers of its member-operators, connecting them all together in an ad hoc network that dynamically responds to the supply and demand of individual users on the network. That network is then linked to a commercial-grade backhaul connection, and users pay each other for bandwidth while configuring their own connection preferences and needs. Althea’s innovative software and staff help manage the connection in real-time. The result is a decentralized, flexible, privacy-focused community of devices. Althea exists in more that three dozen communities around North America, Canada, the Caribbean, and Africa.
Deborah reflects on how she came to the broadband space, and the origins of the first Althea network. Christopher and Deborah discuss what it means to play a central role in empowering communities to help create their own sustainable networks, and watching people put in Internet infrastructure themselves and take ownership. One example is Enfield, North Carolina, a state with some of the most onerous broadband restrictions which have resulted in poor connectivity options for that community.
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Transcript coming soon.
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Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.