The People Behind The ‘Outernet’ Want To Beam You The Internet From Space

Senior Contributor
02.18.14 4 Comments


We’ve been talking for a while about alternate Internet technologies, especially now that Comcast and Time Warner are trying to weld themselves together like a terrifying Frankenstein’s Monster of incompetent customer service and anticompetitive practices. One foundation, though, wants to skip all that by building an Outernet instead.

What, you might ask, is an Outernet? Well, according to the Daily Mail, it essentially involves the Media Development Investment Fund launching satellites. Lots of satellites.

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.

Sound nuts? It’s actually viable, at least in theory. We’re already launching cubesats on a fairly regular basis. It wouldn’t exactly be streaming Netflix 4k speed, but it would work.

The main question would be one of legality. Needless to say, repressive governments like North Korea and Russia would not exactly be thrilled at the idea of their citizens being able to access the Internet from flying space dice they can’t blast with a missile.

Even nominally free governments probably would not be very excited. Keep in mind that Europe has spent the last several years trying to exert more control over the Internet, usually in the form of trying to ban pornography or imposing taxes on the Internet. This would not only shut those efforts down, but also circumvent any ridiculous filters the government may try to impose for cheap political points.

That said, you can expect this idea sooner rather than later; let’s not forget that Jeff Bezos, possibly the human being who has the most to gain from the Internet being everywhere all the time, is also a space obsessive. So it may not have a worldwide reach, but expect cubesats broadcasting the Internet to your house sooner rather than later.

Via The Daily Mail

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