The Pacific Northwest Rural Broadband Alliance: An Introduction

At The Pacific Northwest Rural Broadband Alliance we have begun launching our flagship network in Missoula, Montana, and are in the active planning phases of deploying service to Anderson Island, Washington many may be wondering “who is The Pacific NW Rural Broadband Alliance? And how do they relate to The Missoula Valley Internet Co-op and The Anderson Island Internet Co-op?”

In short, The Pacific NW Rural Broadband Alliance is the parent organization responsible for these budding community networks. We are a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, comprised of a small but dedicated group of experienced and highly talented individuals with a passion for technology and the desire to make a positive impact on what is commonly referred to as “the digital divide.” By working at the local level to organize and get rural communities connected to modern broadband service via community-powered networks using the Althea Network technology platform.

Formally, it is the core mission of the Pacific NW Rural Broadband Alliance to do our part in closing the digital divide by targeting rural areas across the region that are in vital need of modern broadband service. Currently, in America, 6% of households and 25% of rural America (14.5 million people) lack proper access to broadband service.

Communities who are under-served and unconnected remain cut off from the vital benefits broadband services provide that include (but are not limited to) economic benefits to households and businesses, access to work from home, access to on-line education services, access to life-saving tele-medicine services, and the general vital real-time communications that the internet facilitates.

For most of these rural communities, they will never receive proper broadband services because they fall outside of the traditional profit model of incumbent commercial ISP. However, our organization, leveraging the Althea technology platform, and inexpensive commercial wired and wireless carrier technology, can build community-powered, community-owned and operated, fast and affordable broadband services at a fraction of the cost, opening markets previous deemed unprofitable to provide access to even the smallest and most rural communities across the region.

By working in close coordination with these communities we are capable of building fast, resilient, and inexpensive mesh networks by leveraging the power of private property, and thereby avoiding the traditional expenses of building costly radio towers, or burying miles of cables to connect disparately located homes. It is through this model that we can quickly and efficiently connect communities with vital broadband services that have been historically inaccessible, and thereby provide them with all the well-documented benefits that come along with a connection to and presence on the modern internet.

Our organization is built on core values that we hold with utmost importance:

1.) Connect people to fast and affordable broadband service and KEEP them connected.

2.) We invest in local communities by coordinating the construction and supporting the operation of community-powered, community-owned, and operated internet infrastructure.

3.) We stand for Net Neutrality and consider security and customer privacy our top priority!

Following this mission statement, and adhering to these core values, The Pacific NW Rural Broadband Alliance will be working on finding those key areas across the region who are in the most need of broadband service that is becoming more obvious to everyone is no longer a luxury, but a vital lifeline service.

Without modern broadband service communities are disconnected from the National and globalized economy, adults do not have the tools needed to work from home, children cannot learn from home, and families do not have access to tele-health services from home.

These are all things that are becoming more important by the day, and we believe everyone’s home should be connected to this vital service at a price everyone can afford. We have started this process by forming two networks, being The Missoula Valley Internet Co-op (in Montana) and Anderson Island Internet Co-op (in Washington). These networks are an example of more networks that we will be working to build for communities in need throughout the Pacific NW region.

Each network will be operated at the community level but supported by our larger regional organization. But building our own networks is just a small part of our organization’s goals.

We also intend on reaching out to communities with existing ISP’s that may need help in improving, modernizing, and expanding their services to better serve their communities, and provide support to communities looking to start their own networks.

Broadband service is just the start because we also have plans to offer VoIP phone services, partner with tele-medicine services, and work with other local organizations to provide connectivity services that they may need.

All of these, and more, are the services The Pacific NW Rural Broadband Alliance intends to provide as we expand. Expect big things from us in the months and years to come!

If you are a community or organization that is in need or feel you may benefit from our services and support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly. We are always happy and eager to discuss any way we might be able to assist communities in need!

e-mail: broadband@nwbroadbandalliance.org

phone: 1 (206) 338–9997

We are The Pacific Northwest Rural Broadband Alliance, a non-profit foundation dedicated to building fast, affordable, community powered broadband networks.

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