Nonprofit plans to buy satellite to provide free internet for the world.
The spacecraft in question is the Terrestar-1 communications satellite. Given that the company that owns it, Terrestar, has recently filed for bankruptcy, it may soon be up for sale. A Human Rights’s plan is to raise US$150,000, so that his group can put together a business plan for funders, process the legal and business aspects of submitting a bid, and hire engineers to figure out how to move and repurpose the satellite. At the time of this publishing, he has raised a total of $37,687.
Once it has the money, ahumanright.org will make a bid on Terrestar-1, begin developing a low-cost modem, acquire an orbital parking spot and radio wave spectrum, and draw up plans with partner governments. The final phase of the project would involve actually moving the satellite into position over a partner country or countries, distributing the modems, and beginning service.
While there is currently no price tag attached to Terrestar-1, ahumanright’s Buy This Satellite fundraising website points out that a used Iridium communications satellite was sold in 2000 for $23 million – a steal, considering it reportedly cost $5 billion to build new. Still, the whole venture sounds quite daunting, and it likely wouldn’t be possible without the help of highly-motivated volunteer “ambassadors” who are promoting the charity around the world.
Free internet for all? Great gesture by the nonprofit and no this does not mean the end to capitalism since people will still have the option to choose a premium respective to their broadband preference.
However, free worldwide internet could lay the foundation for more oppressed nations to organize revolutions via social media (like we saw in Egypt).