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Jun 23, 2015 9:51 AM ET

Archived: Outernet – Free Data from Space without Cell Networks or Internet Infrastructure

iCrowdNewswire - Jun 23, 2015



Free Data from Space without Cell Networks or Internet Infrastructure


Outernet is creating the most accessible data service in history. We do this by using a space-based distribution system with no cost to the user. 

While successful broadcast businesses have been built around specific mediums like audio (AM and FM radio) and video (satellite and terrestrial TV), no broadcast system has been built for the distribution of data. Any media experience available online can be delivered independently of the internet using Outernet.

  1. Any person or organization can add content to the Outernet datacast. Think of it like YouTube or Reddit. A small amount can be added for free, beyond that a fee applies. Revenue opportunity: Sponsored Data.
  2. The data is broadcast for free to Outernet-compatible receivers. Users may buy a receiver from Outernet, but our platform is open to encourage wide adoption. Revenue opportunity: Hardware Sales.
  3. A user device connects to a receiver via Wi-Fi. Content is viewed in a browser on any device – no new software required. Revenue opportunity: Premium Content.

Our data ecosystem is so ingrained that we do not question some of its more archaic traits. Here are questions Outernet asks:

– Why do so many people pay to receive the exact same content from dispersed nodes when it could be distributed centrally? 

– Why do we have broadcast television and radio, but no similar system for data?

– Why do we need to be within range of a cell tower to read the news or see what is trending on Twitter? 


Right now, 6 out of 10 humans on Earth cannot connect to the Internet. For most people on Earth, the way content is accessed via the Internet is either too costly, too slow, or simply does not exist. Outernet will be the primary data source for the majority of humanity who live in developing countries where economic growth rates are the highest in the world.

Other problems:

To use the Internet, a user must create an account and pay a monthly or often more costly pay-as-you-go fee. Outernet is free to access.

The bi-directional nature of the Internet means that individual censorship, tracking, or monitoring by third parties is guaranteed. Instead of a snake-vs-mongoose game of online security and privacy, Outernet is completely anonymous by design.

Limited infrastructure in most parts of the world means that whatever networks do exist are often slow. An infinite number of users has no adverse impact on the Outernet experience.

Outernet embraces the positive impact we can have on humanity, but we are not a charity. We are going where other technology companies are not because we recognize the long term value of a 4.3 billion person audience comprised of mostly young aspirationals.

Outernet is simultaneously creating a digital media experience and a new platform for distributing that media. Outernet is not just a popular radio station, we are FM. Outernet is not a platinum album, we are the compact disc itself. Outernet is not just the bestselling book, we are the printing press

– What will our species accomplish when everyone can learn to their full potential? What inventions will be created? What diseases cured?

– What would it be like to be a part of the company that helps create that world?

For centuries, the story of human progress has been the story of making more information available to more people. From the printing press to the word processor, the telephone to the text message, human beings have continually found ways to share more information with more people more quickly and more affordably than how it was done before.

Outernet is the next chapter in that story and this is your chance to be a part of it.


An Outernet customer and an Outernet user are not necessarily the same person. Along the three stages of the Outernet process are different revenue opportunities from a variety of customers. Outernet can engage a large number of customers while still focusing on just two types of products: hardware and data.

As we continue to roll out more of Outernet’s functionality over the coming months, we envision three major customer types for Sponsored Data:

  1. Individual User. This will be a person who wants to use Outernet to broadcast some form of digital content. YouTube’s motto is “Broadcast Yourself,” with Outernet that will actually be true. Users will pay on a per MB basis over our free allotment.
  2. Content creator. Our pilot customer, UNICEF, is a good example of how this would work. They pay on a recurring basis to broadcast their content to Outernet’s audience.
  3. Advertiser. There will be opportunities to display ads alongside content and within the Outernet UI. We want ads to enhance our content experience, not get in the way. 

Hardware sales will constitute a significant share of revenue initially as we seek to encourage market adoption. Our open platform means our receiver technology is not proprietary, again with the aim being mass adoption.

  1. Complete devices. Receivers like Lantern (over 5,000 sold on IndieGoGo, over $600,000 raised), Pillar (coming this summer), and Dreamcatcher (design ongoing) are out of the box solutions. Customers can be individual or institutional, like the World Bank.
  2. Components. Outernet sells individual components and complete kits for users to assemble their own receivers. You can see this on our store, launched June 2015.

Component sales can also include an antennae for inclusion in the body of a smartphone or tablet. Imagine a smartphone that comes with free data without a phone company contract. An Outernet receiver can be built-in the same way that Bluetooth capability is built into phones today.

Premium content augments the large variety of content that we will broadcast for free. Outernet users will have the option to make individual purchases, like a movie or a song, or subscription purchases. This can be facilitated using SMS payments.


Share Your Content

Any digital file can be sent over Outernet — that includes news, video, music, e-books, and much more. Any Internet user will be able to share an alotment of data for free. Create a global blog or share your Twitter feed with the world. Outernet users can use SMS, Twitter, or WhatsApp to request content.

Outernet Editorial

In addition to the content brought to us by our users, Outernet will curate a large collection of the web’s best content. We are already datacasting a collection of great material from exceptional sources. The library that Outernet can build is limited only by what can be made digital.


Watch Outernet’s demo installation in Detroit on CNBC

“The world’s poor could benefit from a system that is blanketing half Earth’s surface with a signal that provides free access to Wikipedia and other useful websites.” — MIT Tech Review

Watch the BBC show Click! cover Outernet’s pilot in Kenya.

“Outernet will launch their three new nanosatellites at the beginning of 2016…That means lower costs for Outernet’s target markets, which are already at the bottom of the economic food chain.” — TechCrunch

“For 60 percent of the world’s population, regular internet access is about as common as flying cars…But where the internet has failed, the Outernet hopes to succeed.” — Gizmodo

“Imagine life without the Internet. That’s the reality for much of the world — almost 5 billion people — in heavily censored or remote areas where the Internet remains largely unavailable. Outernet… wants to change that.” — LA Times

“[Outernet] could be the next big step toward unified planetary connectivity.”Washington Post

“The Short Wave Radio for the Digital Age.” — Fast Company

“A Tiny Satellite Dish That Brings Info to the World’s Deadzones.” — Wired

“Outernet aims to provide data to the net unconnected.” — BBC

“Billions of people around the world don’t have access to the Internet, so the next big thing is trying to connect the world.” — CNN


Outernet has made some incredible progress since launching our first data broadcast in August 2014. Things have really picked up speed in 2015, and our momentum is building full steam ahead toward even bigger and better things to come in 2016 and beyond.

Outernet already covers North America, Africa, Europe, and most of Western Asia with over 500 MB of data per day. That’s 15GB of data per month when the average American uses just 2 GB per month of mobile data. Our capacity will continue to grow as we add users and expand our library. We plan to be completely global with increased capacity within 1-2 months.

Here’s an overview of some of the most exciting developments from the past few months at Outernet:

  • 5,000+ units of our Lantern hardware device pre-sold through our Indiegogo campaign.
  • $1.5 million grant from the UK Space Agency in partnership with Clyde Space to develop Outernet’s own satellite constellation. First launch in early 2016.
  • Test installations scheduled for over a dozen multinational corporations, nonprofits, and NGOs.
  • Validation of of backend systems, custom firmware, and datacasting client.
  • Exclusive deals on satellite broadcasting with major operators.
  • Included satellite TV channel on multiple continents on popular satellite TV providers to market Outernet (and possibly create a video content channel).
  • App developed to make millions of Android set-top boxes Outernet compatible.
  • Hardware + content partnership with the World Bank.

Content partners and clients including  Project Gutenberg, Elsevier, Deutsche Welle, and Empowering Health


Request access to our Business Plan to learn more about our operational plans and how you can participate.


The Outernet Team


Syed Karim – Founder and CEO

Investor, maker, failed librarian 


Syed oversees all operations, directs the activities of the team, and sets Outernet’s strategic goals.
– Investment manager at Digital News Ventures, a seed fund for digital media startups in emerging markets
– Led Product Development at WBEZ, one of the the largest and most innovative public broadcaster in the United States
– Graduate work in Information Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Thane Richard – Publisher and COO

Experience leading editorial startups in emerging markets 


Thane oversees editorial and ensures that content is pushing revenue growth forward.
– Founded a digital “pirate radio” startup in India that received an acquisition offer from the Mahindra Group chairman, Anand Mahindra
– Covered the 2014 Indian General election from India for Quartz
– Honors degree in Economics from Brown university


Branko Vukelic – CTO

Self-taught, multifaceted technologist with cross-cultural experiences 


Branko oversees the technical architecture of Outernet, from the process of adding content to the archive, pushing the datacast, and ensuring data delivery.
– Oversaw technical development for several emerging and established technology companies in Serbia
– Began in book design and transitioned to software development to translate an age old interface into a digital medium
– Actively works in a dozen languages and frameworks, much of which can be seen here https://github.com/foxbunny



Andrean Franc, Software Architect. Andrean oversees the development of Librarian, the content portal used for browsing Outernet data.

Ben Ennis, Developer. Ben handles Outernet’s content delivery system.

Ben Schuurman, Designer. Ben focuses on making the UX intuitive for diverse users of limited technical experience.

Kyle Keen, Hardware Lead. Kyle is a core contributor to the RTL-SDR software defined radio project. A particular focus is antennae design.

Rachel Feinberg, Director of Programs and Business Development. Rachel finds and educates grassroots organizations on utilizing Outernet.

Contact Information:

Syed Karim
Thane Richard
Branko Vukelic

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