It is governed and operated by the SEA (Space Elevator Authority), and generates 30% of New Angeles' economy.It is also the main method of transportation for helium-3 canisters descending from the moon, so its value goes beyond mere credits.
Halfway up the Beanstalk is Midway Station, which has a substantial NBN presence, as does the Challenger Planetoid, the station at the summit of the space elevator. Travelers can then reach the moon via the Challenger Memorial Ferry.
Most of the workers who operate and maintain the Beanstalk are refugees from the Martian War. After suspicion fell on Dejah Thoris following the murder of James Standish in the Freetown mining colony, Martian workers shut down the Beanstalk in an act of civil disobedience. This is an event in the mystery "Freetown Fright", and also forms the plot of the novel Golem.
Travelers use beanpods to travel between stations.
From The Root, a pod takes 60 minutes to reach Midway Station. There, passengers disembark and either stay to conduct business, or transfer to another beanpod that continues the journey to Challenger Station (which takes another hour).
A downstalk trip (departing from Challenger) takes the same amount of time.
Construction workers and engineers laughed at Weyland's idea, nicknaming his project "The Beanstalk", taking inspiration from the famous fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk.
Initial construction began 31 000 kilometers above the Earth's surface at an orbital station now known as Midway Station. Constructorbots built a meter-wide buckyweave strap that descended down through the sky to the planet's surface. Simultaneously, another buckyweave strap was being built upwards in perfect balance.
The elevator tube was built around the strap, and reached a final circumference of 20 meters when construction was completed in the year 2X35.
They said it couldn't be built. That it was a fantasy. That Jack Weyland was a fool, and he had bought the fools in Washington too. But year after year the buckyweave grew, and ‘they’ stopped talking.