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Outernet - Information for the World from Outer Space

Outernet - Information for the World from Outer Space

By: Donna Hancock

Information for the World from Outer Space

Unrestricted, globally accessible, broadcast data.

Quality content from all over the Internet.

Available to all of humanity.

For free.

By leveraging datacasting technology over a low-cost satellite constellation, Outernet is able to bypass censorship, ensure privacy, and offer a universally-accessible information service at no cost to global citizens. It's the modern version of shortwave radio, or BitTorrent from space.

What Problem is Outernet Solving?

There are more computing devices in the world than people, yet less than 40% of the global population has access to the wealth of knowledge found on the Internet. The price of smartphones and tablets is dropping year after year, but the price of data in many parts of the world continues to be unaffordable for the majority of global citizens. In some places, such as rural areas and remote regions, cell towers and Internet cables simply don't exist. The primary objective of Outernet is to bridge the global information divide.

Outernet connects everyone around the globe.

Broadcasting data allows citizens to reduce their reliance on costly Internet data plans in places where monthly fees are too expensive for average citizens. And offering continuously updated web content from space bypasses censorship of the Internet. An additional benefit of a unidirectional information network is the creation of a global notification system during emergencies and natural disasters.

Access to knowledge and information is a human right and Outernet will guarantee this right by taking a practical approach to information delivery. By broadcasting digital content to mobile devices, simple antennae, and existing satellite dishes, a basic level of news, information, education, and entertainment will be available to all of humanity.

How Does it Work?

Outernet will utilize a constellation of low-cost, miniature satellites and existing infrastructure in geostationary orbit. In both cases, satellites receive content from the web through a network of ground stations which uplink content that the community has collectively requested. The data packets are broadcast in loops so that poor signal quality does not prevent continous updating of content. In order to serve the widest possible audience, Outernet utilizes globally-accepted, standards-based protocols, such as DVB, and sessionless WiFi multicasting.

150 satellites deliver various content to WiFi-enabled devices on Earth's surface

Citizens from all over the world, through SMS and feature-phone apps, participate in building the information priority list. Users of Outernet's website also make suggestions for content to broadcast; lack of an Internet connection should not prevent anyone from learning about current events, trending topics, and innovative ideas.
What Will Outernet Deliver?
International and local news
Crop prices for farmers
Wikipedia in its entirety
Movies, music, games
Disaster relief coordination
Global notification system

Project Timeline
December 2013
Phase I Technical Assessment
July 2014
Development of prototype satellites and begin data broadcasts over Ku-band spot beams.
September 2014
Transmission testing in flight-like environments (requesting time on the International Space Station through NanoRacks External Platform)
January 2015
Launch and testing of demonstration satellites
April 2015
Establish manufacturing process for nanosatellite production
June 2015
Begin deployment of Outernet as launch schedule permits
Who is Building Outernet?
Aaron Rogers 
Mission Engineering
Branko Vukelic
Software Developer
Edward Birrane
Telecom Protocols
Syed Karim
Founder & Project Lead
Editor's Note - Is this for freedom, or are they 'the man'? Will try to get them on the show to find out. This is not an endorsement of the Outernet, but rather exposure to the concept that this kind of thing is very do-able and will open up all kinds of possibilities

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