“Outernet is the most accessible information service in history. It was founded on the belief that everyone has the right to access information and ideas, regardless of frontiers. It is a solution designed to be free of cost to users and independent of internet infrastructure and mobile data networks.”
For 60 percent of the world’s population, regular internet access is about as common as flying cars. Nearly 5 billion people today lack basic internet access either because they live in remote, rural areas or due to restrictive censorship on the part of the local government.
But where the internet has failed, the Outernet hopes to succeed. It’s working to get a new breed of satellite-based communication off the ground, promising to give even the most remote corners of the globe access to the whole of humanity’s collective knowledge.
The Outernet is the brainchild of the same-named New York-based tech company, a free content distribution system that would provide basic web access broadcast via a series of geostationary and LEO satellites, as well as cube sats using a combination of datacasting and User Datagram Protocols.
Datacasting is exactly what it sounds like: the wide area broadcast of data using radio waves rather than physical mediums (like cable, telephone, or powerlines ). User datagram protocols, or UDP, is very similar to conventional over-the-air radio or television broadcasts in that it’s uni-directional. The data is beamed from its source to any device within range and there’s no guarantee that it will be received, just like radio stations broadcast their signals without regard to which or how many radios are currently in range to catch it.
In assence the Outernet is modern analog to digitalconventional radio broadcast. The signal originates from asingle, central location originally a radio station’s broadcast tower but in this case, the Outernet HQ in NYC and travels across a variety of wavelengths untill it hits a suitable receiver. Previously a pair of rabbit ears, now a 20 inch satellite dish where the end user can flip between “stations” by modulating the received frequency.
But rather than rely on terrestrial radio stations, the Outernet bounces its signal up to a series of satellites then back down to a suitable receiver. This receiver doubles as a Wi-Fi hotspot then connects to a computer or mobile device and transfers the received data as a digital file. And since there is no two-way communication just like you can’t talk to your radio and expect a reply the system requires much lower bandwidth and, therefore, much less money to operate.
Outernet has stated three specific goals when developing the Outernet:
“To provide information without censorship for educational and emergency purposes. They have stated that they plan to provide information about “news, civic information, commodity prices, weather, construction plans for open source farm machinery” and other types of information”.