Anorak News | Let’s Buy The Terrestar-1 Satellite And Give Free Internet To The Forgotten Billions

Let’s Buy The Terrestar-1 Satellite And Give Free Internet To The Forgotten Billions

by | 26th, November 2010

WANNA buy a satellite? The Terrestar-1 satellite is up for grabs. Maybe.

The machine was designed to provide 2-GHz mobile voice and data communications, monitoring and messaging services throughout the US. And it might be up for sale.

TerreStar Networks Inc., the company that owns it has filed for bankruptcy on October 19, 2010.

TerreStar had $1.4 billion of assets and $1.64 billion of liabilities as of June 30, according to a quarterly report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The group A Human Right wants to get enough money to buy and use it to provide free internet to some of the 5 billion people on the planet who have never used the worldwide web. They argue that the web is a universal human right.

The first target country to get online is… Papua New Guinea.

AHumanRight needs a “partner country”:

We say partner country with the utmost reverence: although our end goal is for internet to be as free as the air you breathe, we want to make sure we do it without disrupting the sometimes delicate (sometimes petulant) telecommunications ecosystem. stands behind the belief that if we offer a diminished service for free, while allowing telecommunications companies to purchase and re-sell low cost high-speed bandwidth we can not only get everyone online, but also facilitate the growth of an industry, while remaining sustainable ourselves.

So, who wants a slice of the Terrestat-1? It is the size of a school bus. (It weighs 6910 kg.) And it is easy to operate. The thing connects to the Genus, a handset.

But it will cost. The organisation needs $150,000 USD to:

1. Finalize a business plan for large scale funders.
2. Process the legal and business aspects of submitting a bid for the satellite.
3. Hire several full-time engineers to make our calculations and planning into a concrete reality.

If the cash comes in, they will:

1. Make an official bid for the Terrestar-1 satellite.
2. Begin development of an open source low cost modem.
3. Acquire an orbital slot (satellite parking spot) and spectrum (radio wave allocation).
4. Finalize plans with partner governments.
5. Continue all of the technical work required to reposition a satellite.

Then the satellite can be moved. The cheap modems can be handed out. And the thing can be made real.

It’s a great project. But can it work? How much will the satellite cost, even if it is put up for sale? AHumanRight has done the research:

But consider the Iridium satellite constellation: it cost 5 billion dollars to build, and was sold for 23 million dollars after it went bankrupt in 2000. When opportunity knocks, answer the door.

Oh, and there are no guarantees: On February 10, 2009 satellite Iridium 33 collided with the defunct Russian satellite Kosmos 2251.

But let’s not be negative. It’s an uplifting idea. Can it be done..?

Posted: 26th, November 2010 | In: Key Posts, Technology Comment | TrackBack | Permalink