You may find it difficult to believe, but it’s true and now its tested also. A US based organization, which is working on an ambitious project that would allow it to beam free Wi-Fi to everyone on Earth from hundreds of low-orbit satellites, has recently started providing free Wi-Fi signals to 1.3 billion people in North America, Europe and most of the Middle East. The project, known as OUTERNET, is already in process to cover some part of the Asia-Pacific region and is scheduled to offer free Wi-Fi access through hundreds of satellites by the end of 2014. The OUTERNET is scheduled to connect every human being on earth, having a computer or mobile, with internet by June 2015. Currently, OUTERNET provides 200 MB of data per day through its high-speed signals, but soon it would be upgraded to 1 GB. The company is eyeing on providing 100 GB of data per day to users across the globe.
Media Development Investment Firm (MDIF), as the company known by, is planning to take the web access to the next level of advancements. The organization believes that only 60% people on Earth have access to knowledge and information on the Internet and with the growing influence of technology in our lives, it’s important that every person with a computer or a smartphone must be connected to the internet. The project also aims to solve the problem of restricted access of the Internet in countries like North Korea and China as people there could access the various internet websites directly through OUTERNET, bypassing local restrictions and regulations. To make the project more viable the company is seeking the donation from people, including Internet giants Facebook and Google, to get the project on the road.
The company has planned to launch hundreds of low cost miniature satellites, known as cubesats, into the low Earth orbit. Each satellite will receive the data from ground stations located at various places across the globe. Unlike traditional internet protocol, the OUTERNET will depend on the technology known as User Datagram Protocol (UDP) multitasking, which will send data bytes to each system connected to the internet via OUTERNET. The whole system will function just like a TV that received signals from the satellite and user keep flickering channels with a push of a button.
Mr. Syed Karin, Project Lead – OUTERNET, recently fielded few questions on Reddit related to the much ambitious project. He said ‘We have a very solid understand of the costs involved, as well as experience working on numerous spacecraft.”
He feels that that the project holds a very high possibility of success as the first phase of connecting North America and Europe has already been concluded successfully. Launching a low Earth orbit satellite and beaming signals are not a very first-time exercise. However, challenges lie in serving billions of users seamlessly, who would be connected to Internet through OUTERNET.
Besides, the growing concern among telecom providers is another challenge the project will face definitely. Telecom providers across the globe are already facing heat from the growing adoption of mobile messaging apps, their revenue from messaging is almost dead in many of developed and developing markets. The huge penetration of mobile internet is the way to go ahead for the telecom companies, however, in the presence of free Wi-Fi web access to devices, they would be left merciless with no other options but to generate revenue from calls and a few over-the-top services.
But OUTERET will fight against Telecom companies, who have already started lobbying against the project. Mr. Karin said “We will fight….and win.”