Tacoma Cooperative Network last week announced its launch to build out a new decentralized internet infrastructure in Hilltop with the goal of obtaining equitable community access.

After hitting its target of obtaining 100 pre-registrations for the service, the organization qualified for a network through Althea; a decentralized internet service provider system. Althea uses technology that enables network routers to pay each other for bandwidth, allowing neighborhoods to build a sustainable local network and monetize their roof space.

Tacoma Cooperative Network, a non-profit registered through the state, is one of the first Althea networks to launch in an urban area. It will begin installing subscribers in November.

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 automatically. The member-owned and -run service does not require a contract, and members pay only for the service they use. 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, an 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.”

For more information, visit Tacoma Cooperative Network’s website through Althea.