Satellite Network Plans Free Wi-Fi Style Internet Access

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Beaming mobile internet content for free from a global network of satellites is the ambition plan that has been announced by the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF).

The service, known as Outernet will see the launch of hundreds of small satellites -- known as cubesats -- into orbit within an ambitious two-year time frame, and will broadcast internet based content over a low-frequency channel.

The backers say that they can cover the whole globe with the service which would be based on Wi-Fi technology to ensure device compatibly.

"We have a very solid understand of the costs involved, as well as experience working on numerous spacecraft,'" said Project Lead of Outernet Syed Karim.

The key downside to the service is that it is broadcast only -- and hence limited in scope to the content that they decide to offer. In that sense, it is closer to the old Teletext services offered by TV broadcasters, albeit on a much larger scale.

In addition, although part of their argument is bypassing national censors, as the information is likely to be generic in nature, it would not be the sort of content that would be blocked anyway -- and the weak satellite signal would be very easy to jam.

If everything goes to plan, the Outernet project aims to ask NASA for permission to test the technology on the International Space Station.

Deployment is expected to start from June 2015.

On the web: Outernet

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