Internet: The Final Frontier

spaceIn recent years, the developments made in internet technology have been out of this world. With the idea of free internet from space, that statement is about to become quite literal.

Outernet could be the newest advancement to bring internet to all countries. Forty percent of the world’s population currently doesn’t have access to the Web. Yet, our planet could soon be surrounded by hundreds of tiny satellites the size of a dictionary called CubeSats.  These miniature satellites will have the ability to provide Internet access to each individual on Earth.

As a preliminary launch, the Outernet goal is to have a fleet of 24 satellites function as a globe-spanning network within as quickly as a year. To begin with, these CubeSats will only be used for one-way communication for delivering services like emergency update news and educational programs. This will not be an overnight process as it may take up to 5 years to offer the full type of interactive Internet that permits users to both download and upload information.

Outernet signal strength will be one of the characteristics determined during this trial period. A stronger signal would lower the satellite’s range but deliver faster speeds. Determining the right balance will be a work in progress.

The barriers in this process will be aggravating countries that desire control over internet access. Countries like North Korea and Russia have always had government control on what citizens can access on the Internet to prevent anti-government propaganda. Even European countries that have been seeking out more internet control could be unsatisfied because it would create a way to evade things like prohibiting pornography and implementing internet taxes. Naturally, Americans welcome this progress since it is a U.S. venture.

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