Outernet: Providing information to the world from outer space


MDIF is incubating its first project: Outernet, the world’s first truly global media delivery service.

Founded by MDIF’s Director of Innovation Syed Karim, Outernet will use a network of small satellites to transmit selected internet data – audio, video, text and applications – to any Wi-Fi-enabled device, including mobile phones, anywhere in the world at no cost. No other information channel allows for such a wide variety of content, or broadcasts on a genuinely world-wide scale.

“In a world where only 40% has access to the information available on the Internet, Outernet seeks to imagine a different world: one where everyone has any information they want,” says Mr Karim. “What new inventions could be created or diseases cured? What would people read about if their governments no longer deprived them of their right to free information? What if there were a library in every village, a library in every home, a library in every pocket? What could humanity accomplish if its complete potential, not just 40% of it, were given the information it desired?”

Outernet went viral on its launch on 31 January with 150,000 unique visitors to the website in the first 72 hours and massive global coverage. On 10 February, it was the number 1 trending subject on Baidu, China’s equivalent to Google. Since then, it has been featured on the front page of Reddit twice and covered in numerous publications.

“We are excited to incubate such a revolutionary project,” said MDIF CEO Harlan Mandel. “Outernet will bypass censorship, ensure privacy and offer worldwide access to information to everyone, including those who today are beyond the geographic reach of the internet or can’t afford it.”

“Outernet is the modern version of shortwave radio,” said founder Mr. Karim. “It uses leading-edge technology to address a deep social problem. As the world moves towards a global knowledge-driven economy, more than 3 billion people are excluded by cost, geography or jurisdiction. Outernet will increase opportunities for everyone to access digital news and information, allowing greater access to opportunity and education than anything that currently exists.”

Outernet will also offer a humanitarian communications system, relaying public service transmissions during emergencies in places where there is no access to conventional communications networks due to natural disasters or man-made restrictions on the free-flow of information.

All of the components necessary for the Outernet have been validated by various governmental, university and amateur satellite projects. Outernet will bring these technologies together, provide standardization where none exists, and build a genuinely innovative global media delivery platform.

For more information, visit: https://www.outernet.is/

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