|Copyright Outernet 2015, https://outernet.is/|
Outernet is a different sort of project to Loon and Internet.org. Where other projects aim to provide access to the Internet wholesale (although whether internet.org really does this is up for debate), Outernet is a project that seeks to distribute information uploaded to a library, and then distribute that information via satellite.
The lottery of where you are born, and therefore what information you have the rights to access, will eventually be cancelled out by Outernet.
-Outernet Chief Operating Officer Thane Richard International Business Times
Outernet began its operations in June 2014: “Since then we have moved quickly. Outernet is now multicasting on seven satellites covering 99% of humans with 1 GB/day and a test beam of 100 GB/day over Africa and Europe.” (https://outernet.is/about)
Outernet sell receivers called Lighthouses for $99, but they also offer instructions on how you can build your own. The receivers operate in a read only fashion allowing users to pick information (via a Wi-Fi enabled device) to view and download. Filling the shelves of 'Humanity's Public Library' posed significant challenges due to the limited bandwidth available via satellite. This is why the team behind Outernet decided early on to create a systematic set of guidelines for choosing what information should be shared (Outernet guidelines document). Essentially, the information is structured into four tiers.
|Copyright Outernet 2015, https://librarian.outernet.is/en/|
2. Globally Curated Content - Similar to the Core Archive but with a the additional emphasis on currency and regularly updated content.
3. Nationally Curated Content - this is information that is of local/national importance - effectively most of this information will be from newspapers.
4. Disaster information - information about natural disasters, wars, etc. is broadcast separately and given highest priority.
One of the early partners of the project was Harvard University, who agreed to upload content from their institutional repository DASH. Peter Suber, Director Scholarly Communications at Harvard said:
“Harvard supports open access to peer-reviewed faculty scholarship, and the participation of our open-access repository in Outernet is entirely consonant with our mission to enhance the distribution, visibility, and usage of Harvard research.” Outernet 2015
Syed Karim, CEO of Outernet, said:
“Broadcasting the academic content of one of the leading universities in the world is an enormous win for information equality.” Outernet 2015
Outernet also has partnerships with Wikipedia, the open access monographs publisher Project Gutenberg (http://blog.outernet.is/project-gutenberg-announces-partnership-with-outernet/), and Open Education Consortium; who offer free resources and tools for education.