Tips For New Althea Users

PNW Rural Broadband
9 min readApr 20, 2021

So, you just took the leap and got connected to your local community’s Althea network! You have a brand new fast, affordable, community owned and operated internet access from your local network operator, and you’re ready to experience the advantages of this entirely new model for providing internet access. But, as with anything new, Althea requires a slight mindset change to ensure that your experience is a positive one. So there’s a few things you want to be aware of:

Pay-per-forward billing:

As we wrote about in a previous blog entry the way you pay for your service is entirely different from other ISP’s. Unlike traditional incumbent ISP’s with a laundry list of different (and often hidden) fee’s, the billing for your Althea service is simple and entirely transparent. Rather than paying a flat fee for a speed-tier plan that you may-or-may-not even receive, or may-or-may-not even use, with Althea you are only paying for what you use, plus a small support fee that helps the network operators maintain the network, provide top quality customer support, and replace any potentially defective hardware. You can think of this model as “utilizing the internet,” billed in the same way you would pay for any other utility, such as electricity or water.

Logging in to your Althea router, at you have access to to the “Finances” tab, where you can load funds onto your router via your debit card, but also see a historical list of your daily bandwidth usage:

Image of a lab router finances — actual network prices per gigabyte will vary.

While this has the advantage of only paying for what you’re using, and not paying for what you’re not, it does mean you need to think of your bandwidth usage much in the same way you think of your power or water usage.

If you were to leave your lights on all day, or other power hungry appliances running, or leave your water running constantly your utility bills will reflect that usage. However if you make sure to turn the lights off when you leave the room, minimize the usage of power hungry appliances, or use your water only as necessary, your utility bills will remain affordable.



PNW Rural Broadband

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