Increasing web connectivity in the developing world has been a focus of philanthropists, international bodies like the U.N., and individual states alike. But, like most grand visions, wiring entire countries for the Web is expensive. So how does a philanthropist sidestep the massive expense of building and launching a satellite that can beam Internet to remote regions of the world? You wait for a company to go bankrupt, then you buy their brand new communications satellite already in orbit on the cheap.
There are plenty of aspects of the plan that seem easy to poke holes in. For one, satellites generally go for more than $150,000 (even at a bankruptcy auction). And the phase one plan calls for hiring several full-time engineers for the project, but that'll cost $50,000 per year per engineer (and that's only if the engineers are content to work on the cheap)--well, you can see why we might be a bit skeptical.
However, the notion is both noble and ambitious, and we’re all about nobility and ambition. If the money can be found, a project like this has the power to seriously affect change in places where connectivity is scarce (if it’s available at all). Go to buythissatellite.org to do your part to purchase Terrastar-1. There might just be a T-shirt in it for you.