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Deutsche Welle Takes to the Outernet

International broadcasters looks at satellite-delivered content

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle is experimenting with yet another content delivery technology — the Outernet.

What is the “outernet?”

The Outernet is a nonproprietary, nonencoded satellite-based content delivery system. Currently, as of launch day, this week, it is somewhat a one-way service — from satellite to receiver. Here’s an L.A. Times briefing on the Outernet. Here’s the “official” website.

However, its developers have big plans. They see a mesh-style network of small satellites that can cheaply deliver two-way content all across the planet — without respect to borders or censorship. Lots of content. A release describes the goal as being “humanity’s public library.”

The ground station is specced to be cheap, easy to use and easy to hide: items such as brand-agnostic dish, Raspberry Pi, any computer and open source software. And for large groups, Wi-Fi-linked satellite hotspots are envisioned.

DW is getting in on the ground floor. DW’s Head of Global Partnerships Marco Maass said, “Outernet shares many of the same values that DW holds dear and is a clear signal to those who try to censor or limit access to the Internet.” He added, “We believe that access to free information is a basic human right and we hope this partnership will contribute to net neutrality and sidestep censorship.”

Outernet’s Head of User Engagement Thane Richard said, “For Outernet, it is extremely important for us to be globally minded in our content sources — particularly news — from the outset … Deutsche Welle represents a very exciting step for Outernet in bridging the global information divide by providing quality news along with other relevant content to our users.”