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MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS > Will the outernet one day replace the internet?

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message 1: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11370 comments Hmmmm?
What say you?

message 2: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11370 comments sayori wrote: "then if really this happens, the first thing we should see is that if they r really supporting net neutrality or not.
but the idea is a good one."

Agreed - I think at present the outernet is mainly for areas where they have no internet like remote African schools and refugee camps etc.
But the idea is to spread it wider and make it totally free, unlike the internet.

The other thing I read is if the internet ever goes down, like say in a global war or else major hacking, the outernet would apparently continue unharmed as that is being beamed to Earth from satellites in space.

message 3: by Faith (new)

Faith (faymorrow) | 309 comments I'm sort of new to the Outernet thing but I guess unlike internet you cannot communicate and can only access information? That is still great compared to nothing but if you could also communicate that would be amazing for the areas of the world where internet is inaccessible due to living in remote areas and restrictive censorship from the gov. Yet of course, I'm sure that if communication became available the gov. would just destroy that online privacy too.

Also, literacy may be any issue to some people. I don't think that there is an audio version for this but if there was that would be an improvement.

I also hear that all of the info. is stored in files and you can access those files from an electronic device if it picks up the Outernet signals, like radio station signals. I don't know if there are multiple POVs on different topics, but if there is only one POV for a certain topic then how do we know if what we are reading is true? With the internet, you can get tons of different opinions from different websites. But with the Outernet, do the people broadcasting info. choose what to feed the people? If so, they could be feeding us false info. possibly if they wanted to. Though, I also do not know what kind of info. most Outernet users would be searching for so it depends on what info. is actually available.

message 4: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11370 comments I think this group should be available on the outernet

message 5: by Lance, Group Founder (new)

Lance Morcan | 2898 comments What Is the Outernet and Is It the Future of the Internet? http://gizmodo.com/what-is-the-outern...

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.

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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.

UDP is one of the most basic forms of Internet protocol. Invented back in 1980, it's a connectionless transmission model—in that it doesn't require someone to be on the other end of the line when the data is sent.

Radio for the digital age

In essence, the Outernet is a modern analog to conventional radio broadcasts. The signal originates from a single, 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 until 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.

"When you talk about the internet, you talk about two main functions: communication and information access," The company's co-founder, Syed Karim, told the BBC. "It's the communication part that makes it so expensive."

Humanity's public library

On the information side, the company has begun forming what it calls a "core archive" of knowledge based on information gleaned from 5,000 Wikipedia entries, Project Gutenberg, and a smattering of copyright-free e-books. The early plan—which definitely has some kinks to work out—is to crowdsource what content is broadcast and make decisions based on user requests and upvotes.

What's more, since the system in uni-directional, it's far more difficult to censor—just as shortwave radios served as vital information lifelines for those stuck behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. Initially funded by a news media investment company, Outernet's mission is to provide free, anonymous, educational information, available to regions facing government censorship or otherwise off the grid.

In August this year, the startup started beaming this data across 200MB of leased geostationary satellite bandwidth, which reaches throughout North America and most of Western Europe, with plans to expand to the rest of the globe by July, 2015. Should the company's IndieGoGo fundraising efforts work out, it could boost the daily broadcast limit to 100GB in the near future.

A single receiver in a central African village, according to Karim's recent Ted Talk, could provide reams of valuable information to as many as 300 local residents—everything from agricultural texts to health, and human services. "If you were in the vicinity of a hotspot receiving the data from the satellite, you would be able to connect with Outernet on your phone and see Librarian—our index software—as if it was just an offline website," he said. "There you would find the data, stored in files."

In addition to disseminating evergreen information, the Outernet could very well also be used for emergency alert broadcasts which would be updated multiple times an hour instead of the average rate of once every week or so.

The plan is not quite perfect, however, as Mark Newman from the technology research firm Ovum, pointed out to the BBC:

When you start to think about the needs of rural communities in developing markets, what they are going to be most interested in are things that impact their daily lives - subsistence, crops, weather and healthcare. I question whether by sourcing content centrally and distributing it locally, you will meet those local needs - both in terms of content and language. Literacy is also going to be an issue. Delivery by audio rather than text would be something to look at, but that would use up more data.
An ambitious project

Still, some internet is way better than no internet. And with estimates placing global internet reach on par with what Outernet can provide still 15 to 20 years away, the Outernet could provide a valuable stop-gap service until conventional 'net access becomes viable.

To that end, Outernet has partnered with the World Bank in South Sudan to perform a test run of the service next July. Should it prove successful, the company hopes to increase its coverage area and begin offering the self-contained receivers, called "lanterns," from its Indiegogo campaign around that time.

And even if the Outernet itself fails to take off, it is far from the only free access system currently in development. Two of the biggest names in tech have already thrown their weight behind similar strategies. Google's Project Loon would see fleets of high altitude balloons bouncing 3G signals from the straosphere back down to the Earth's most remote regions. Facebook's Internet.org, on the other hand, envisions swarms of drones and LEO satellites performing the same function. Even SpaceX is rumored to be building a satellite fleet to bring internet to the far-flung corners of the globe.

So, regardless of who actually comes up with the winning design, the internet is bound to become a truly global phenomenon—including the third world. [LA Times - Indigogo - Wiki - BBC]

message 6: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11370 comments Google boasts of a big sudden improvement in its plan to connect the world with internet-beaming balloons https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/goo...

Google's project to create balloon-based global Internet access is hovering closer to reality.

Project Loon, an effort from Google's X "moonshot" development program, is a network of balloons that will provide high speed Internet access to remote areas of the globe. Today, the company announced its algorithms can now tell groups of balloons to hover in one area where Internet is needed, Google's "Captain of Moonshots" Astro Teller wrote in a post on Medium on Thursday.

The Project Loon team was able to launch its balloons from Puerto Rico and direct them towards Peru, where they stayed for as long as three months.

Initially, the company planned to create rings of balloons around the world that would move to regions that needed access. The new hover process can move balloons in a matter of weeks instead of months. Though more testing needs to be done - and there's still no news on when Project Loon will officially be in use - this method is more cost effective and less work to manage.

Google credited the improvement to machine learning -- a set of techniques by which computer programs crunch huge amounts of data in order to improve efficiency. Google has portrayed itself as a leader in the field, with CEO Sundar Pichai pointing to rapid improvements in areas like language translation.

Google isn't alone in wanting to provide Internet around the world. Facebook's Aquila is a solar-powered plane that hopes do the same, but it suffered a "structural failure" when landing during its inaugural flight.

message 7: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11370 comments Wikipage on the Outernet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outernet

Media coverage over the Outernet has ranged from excitement to skepticism. A CNN video released on February 24, 2014 goes into detail of how the idea seems great, but has many drawbacks due to costs and the feasibility of the project. Other media outlets that have brought up the Outernet include The Washington Post and NBC.[6] Media coverage has also gone into other competing projects that have surfaced, such as Google's Project Loon and Facebook's Internet.org.[12]

There has also been debate over the politics involved in the introduction of the Outernet to the public. Many fears exist over whether "the major telecom companies worldwide will fight the plans for space-based broadcasting of information readily available on the Internet."[13]

A BBC News report summarized Karim's TEDGlobal talk, observing that illiteracy will be a limiting factor for rural adoption.

message 8: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11370 comments Iain wrote: "IS THE GLOBAL INTERNET DISINTEGRATING?

Russia is the latest country to try to find ways to police its online borders, sparking the end of the internet as we know it.


Damn, it'll be crazy if we look back at the first few decades of the internet as the golden years when it was relatively free. Even I'm remembering the net of say 95-2010 as being quite radical (in a good way) compared to now...

message 9: by Keith (new)

Keith Kizzie | 1 comments I am sure that you know that since your post, SpaceX has shown to be moving on the fleet of satellites initiative...

message 10: by Rahul (new)

Rahul Verma (rverma) SATTTELITE HIGHLITE

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