OUTERNET: Company plans to beam ‘free Wi-fi to everyone’ using low-earth orbit cubesats

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If all goes according to plan, North Koreans will soon have free, uncensored Internet provided by satellites the size of toaster ovens.

That’s part of a project called Outernet, which hopes to launch hundreds of tiny satellites—known as CubeSats—to provide Internet to every person on Earth. Forty percent of the world’s people currently don’t have access to the Web. In a little more than a year, Outernet plans to have a fleet of 24 satellites operational and testing to pave the way for a globe-spanning network.

The satellites won’t be providing conventional Internet right away. They’ll initially be used for one-way communication to provide services like emergency updates, news, crop prices, and educational programs. Users will help determine what content is offered.

Outernet, according to its website, “is able to bypass censorship, ensure privacy and offer a universally accessible information service at no cost to global citizens.” The project’s backers say knowledge is a human right—one they intend to provide even in countries where dictators have thus far limited access. For now, they want to make “a basic level of news, information, education, and entertainment … available to all of humanity.”

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