A New York based organization called the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) is planning to alleviate the costs of internet by beaming free wifi to every person on Earth via satellites from space, calling the new technology Outernet. MDIF is planning to dispatch hundreds of satellites into orbit by 2015. They believe that the project could provide unrestricted access to the Internet, even to countries that censor access like China and North Korea.
The company is utilizing something known as datacasting technology, which sends information via wide radio waves. The organization is hoping to raise millions of dollars to get the Outernet project up and running. The team claims that a mere 60 percent of the world’s population currently have access to the information on the internet. They attribute this to the unwillingness or inability for countries to provide the infrastructure people need to access the web.
The company’s satellites are low-cost miniatures of regular satellites called cubesats. The plan is to launch hundreds of these cubesats into Earth’s low orbit. Each satellite will receive data from a diverse system of ground network installations. Outernet will use a technique referred to as User Datagram Protocol (UDP) multitasking, which involves the sharing and sending of information between users via a network. In the same way someone receives information from a satellite on a television set, users of this technology will be able access the network in the same fashion.
Syed Karim, project lead of New York’s organization Outernet: who plan to beam free wifi from space, said that he and his associates are very aware of the costs and resources required for their ambitious project, but there is nothing that is technically impossible to it. When asked by Reddit users about the prospects of telecom companies fighting to stop the project, Karim stated that he will fight them, and win. The organization hopes to gain permission from NASA to test the technology on the International Space Station.
The New York organization: Outernet, has offered their step-by-step plans to beam free wifi from space. They have already completed the assessments of their cubesats technology. The steps that they are currently working on are: Designing a portable Ku-band satellite hotspot, research on open source DVB technology, leasing a small satellite already in orbit, developing a cost effective open-source smartphone dongle, leasing bandwidth from a geostationary satellite operator for experimentation. Their future goals involve: developing an open source cubesat, and schedule launch of demonstration constellation.
Outernet is being built by Aaron Rogers, Branko Vukelic, Edward Birrane, Syed Karim, and Thane Richard. Their goal is to launch an operational version by June 2015. They suggest that their technology will be able to provide news and information, educational courseware, emergency communications, and applications and content. They urge those inspired by the project to spread the word to generate interest in the project. They hope that their project will give those who aren’t able to access information or learning tools due to poverty a genuine education and information for them to make a difference.
By Andres Loubriel