- An ambitious project known as Outernet is aiming to launch hundreds of miniature satellites into low Earth orbit by June 2015
- Each satellite will broadcast the Internet to phones and computers giving billions of people across the globe free online access
- Citizens of countries like China and North Korea that have censored online activity could be given free and unrestricted cyberspace
- ‘There’s really nothing that is technically impossible to this’
PUBLISHED: 09:24 EST, 5 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:49 EST, 5 February 2014
You might think you have to pay through the nose at the moment to access the Internet.
But one ambitious organisation called the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) is planning to turn the age of online computing on its head by giving free web access to every person on Earth.
Known as Outernet, MDIF plans to launch hundreds of satellites into orbit by 2015.
And they say the project could provide unrestricted Internet access to countries where their web access is censored, including China and North Korea.
Using something known as datacasting technology, which involves sending data over wide radio waves, the New York-based company says they’ll be able to broadcast the Internet around the world.
The group is hoping to raise tens of millions of dollars in donations to get the project on the road.
The Outernet team claim that only 60% of the world’s population currently have access to the wealth of knowledge that can be found on the Internet.
This is because, despite a wide spread of Wi-FI devices across the globe, many countries are unable or unwilling to provide people with the infrastructure needed to access the web.
The Outernet project is aiming to raise tens of millions of dollars to launch hundreds of miniature satellites known as cubesats to make their dream a reality
The company’s plan is to launch hundreds of low-cost miniature satellites, known as cubesats, into low Earth orbit.
Here, each satellite will receive data from a network of ground stations across the globe.
Using a technique known as User Datagram Protocol (UDP) multitasking, which is the sharing of data between users on a network, Outernet will beam information to users.
Much like how you receive a signal on your television and flick through channels, Outernet will broadcast the Internet to you and allow you to flick through certain websites.
THE OUTERNET PROJECT TIMELINE
By June of this year the Outernet project aims to begin deploying prototype satellites to test their technology
In September 2014 they will make a request to NASA to test their technology on the International Space Station
By early 2015 they intend to begin manufacturing and launching their satellites
And in June 2015 the company says they will begin broadcasting the Outernet from space
‘We have a very solid understand of the costs involved, as well as experience working on numerous spacecraft,’ said Project Lead of Outernet Syed Karim, who fielded some questions on Reddit.
‘There isn’t a lot of raw research that is being done here; much of what is being described has already been proven by other small satellite programs and experiments.
There’s really nothing that is technically impossible to this’
But at the prospect of telecoms operators trying to shut the project down before it gets off the ground, Karim said: ‘We will fight… and win.’
If everything goes to plan, the Outernet project aims to ask NASA for permission to test the technology on the International Space Station.
And their ultimate goal will be to beginning deploying the Outernet satellites into Earth orbit, which they say can begin in June 2015.