20 February 2014
Forget the Internet - soon there will be the OUTERNET: Company plans to beam free Wi-fi to every person on Earth from space. 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.
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.
And they say the project could provide unrestricted Internet access to countries where their web access is censored, including China and North Korea.
The New York company plans to ask NASA to test their Outernet technology on the International Space Station (above) so that they can begin broadcasting Wi-Fi to web users around the world.
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.
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. 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.
'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.