On August 11, Outernet went live, broadcasting web content via satellite to anyone in North America or Europe with a receiver. At present, more than 1.3 billion people are able to access content through Outernet and that number is expected to grow to 4 billion by the end of the year. During the testing period, Outernet is offering a range of content including Wikipedia articles, e-books from Project Gutenberg and news articles from German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Outernet takes the best of the web and broadcasts it from space, ultimately for every human on Earth, free of charge. Read the BBC’s explanation of how the project works.
The launch comes after months of work by the Outernet team to build the technical backend, establish partnerships with content-providers, and develop a prototype receiver. In the coming months, Outernet plans to lease additional bandwidth from geostationary satellite operators to expand the test range and continue work on low-cost receiver packages to help individuals around the world easily access the service. Outernet is also developing an application called Librarian to serve as a content manager and browser for users.
MDIF is incubating Outernet, which was founded by MDIF’s Director of Innovation, Syed Karim. Outernet’s ultimate goal is to become humanity’s public library—a source for information that is truly global and free from any government censorship. To follow Outernet’s progress like it on Facebook, follow on Twitter or subscribe to its newsletter.