Millions of Americans are stuck at home, having to adapt to working, communicating, and shopping remotely. Unfortunately, many rural communities have subpar connectivity. That’s why residents in Clatskanie, Oregon, are turning to a company called Althea, which makes wireless mesh-networking hardware to provide community-wide wireless Internet access.
Althea community organizers set up access to a “backhaul,” a connection to the Internet’s backbone. Participating residents then install antennas on their houses to receive and optionally relay the signal to other homes. Here’s the twist: relayers are compensated in cryptocurrency, either Ethereum or Dai.
Community mesh networking isn’t a new idea, but the COVID-19 pandemic could help make it a more realistic possibility for rural communities around the world.