For Bitcoin adoption to thrive around the world, proper Internet access will be needed. However, that Internet access does not have to be similar to fiber optic speeds, as using Bitcoin does not require that much bandwidth from a transaction point of view. Bringing Internet access to poor people has been quite a challenge, but non-profit Outernet may have cracked the code to addressing this issue.
Outernet Brings Web Content to You for Free
A large portion of the world’s population is still cut off from Internet access to this very day. In fact, 4.4 billion people around the world — not all of whom are poor, mind you — are not connected to the World Wide Web just yet. But there are various efforts underway to bring an end to this issue, although it will take some time to make any major progress.
Outernet is a New York-based non-profit specializing in bringing free Internet content to the rest of the world using radio waves and satellites. In a normal scenario, connecting to the Internet via satellite would be ridiculously expensive, but Outernet has come up with a solution in the form of “datacasting.”
To explain how datacasting works, one has to think of this concept as radio signals, but by using web pages instead. All of the data belonging to these web pages is broadcasted by satellites owned by Outernet. Once a satellite passes over a certain region, anyone in that area can access that particular web content free of charge. That is, assuming a receiver is put in place to download and convert the data back into its original form.
It would be quite a stretch to make the entire Internet available through this format. For the time being, all of the content broadcasted by Outernet includes ebooks, maps, regular news content, and even Wikipedia pages. Video and audio content are also available, although text-based data is most commonly used.
Furthermore, it is important to note that the users of each receiver can request new content by sending an SMS. As a result of this option, there seems to be a growing demand for educational materials and information on healthcare. Information on both of these subjects is hard to come by in remote areas and Outernet wants to bring the necessary information to people in need.
The usage of short-wave radio signals has been vastly underestimated for quite some time now, even though it can be used to transmit data free of charge. By taking this concept to a larger scale, Outernet broadcasts roughly 1GB of data per day through seven different satellites around the world. Improving global coverage is at the top of the priority list for this non-profit, as it is working on the deployment of nanosatellites to bring more data to more regions.
Despite the grand scale and positive results for Outernet, it remains doubtful as to whether or not such a project will ever be able to deliver proper internet connectivity to remote areas. That being said, transmitting information itself should not rely on Internet connectivity to begin with, as web content belongs to everyone.
Bringing Bitcoin via Outernet
Raising more Bitcoin awareness around the world is direly needed if the digital currency is to succeed over the next few years. Far too many people have no idea what Bitcoin is or why it even matters. Providing that type of information to remote areas covered by Outernet could be an interesting social experiment.
As the Outernet satellites pass overhead, a Wi-Fi connection can be established for a brief period of time. This is not a workable scenario for conducting Bitcoin transactions en masse, but it would allow for a quick look at blockchain data or how the Bitcoin network itself works in real-time. Additionally, the entire Bitcoin Wiki could be broadcasted through this temporary Internet connection.
With so much focus on online Bitcoin integration, such an experiment could breed innovation for real-life use cases. Assuming children and adults in remote areas see the benefit of Bitcoin, they might start thinking of how it can have an impact on their daily lives with or without Internet connectivity. Any innovation that comes forth from this research will apply to the rest of the world as well.
What are your thoughts on the service provided by Outernet? How will it impact the rest of the world in the future? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Wired UK
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Outernet, Globe Backyard