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Can Google Connect the Unconnected 2/3 To the Internet? 99

Posted by timothy
from the if-it-makes-business-sense-sure dept.
lpress (707742) writes "Google, along with Facebook, is a founding partner of Internet.org, which seeks "affordable internet access for the two thirds of the world not yet connected." Google is trying to pull it off — they have projects or companies working on Internet connectivity using high-altitude platforms and low and medium-earth orbit satellites. These extra-terrestrial approaches to connectivity have been tried before, without success, but Google is revisiting them using modern launch technology (public and private), antennas, solar power, radios and other electronics, as well as tuning of TCP/IP protocols to account for increased latency. For example, they just acquired Skybox Imaging, which has a low-earth orbit satellite for high resolution video imaging. In the short run, Skybox is about data, video and images, but the long range goal may be connectivity in developing nations and rural areas — substituting routers for telescopes. Skybox plans to operate a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites and that sounds a lot like Teledesic's attempt at providing connectivity in the mid 1990s, using the technology of 2014."
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Can Google Connect the Unconnected 2/3 To the Internet?

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  • Split up Google (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2014 @05:04PM (#47242321)

    Content and distribution in one hand should be illegal.

  • by kruach aum (1934852) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @05:15PM (#47242397)

    I don't know about you but news makes my life considerably worse than it would be without it, as news is not so much "news" as it is "bads"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2014 @05:30PM (#47242463)

    I seriously doubt we'd have smartphones if the old POTS regime were still a monopoly under heavy regulation as a "public utility".

    Most groundbreaking innovation happens in the public sector. You know AT&T Unix, TCP/IP, that kind of trivial stuff... centralised organisations which make productivity rather than profit their goal always work fastest, just not always friendliest. Here in Blighty, BT was planning to fibre much of the UK before Thatcher stopped that just to give competitors a chance.

    Essential services forming natural monopolies are only wrested from democratic control when ideological leeches enter the game.

  • by NotInHere (3654617) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @05:40PM (#47242517)

    What about Min Soo-Ah, how will wifi balloons save her from living in a country where hot water doesn't reach above the second floor?

    That ain't such a big problem, if you don't have cold winters. You should name basic santitation or access to clean water first. We would have achieved a lot when there were a toilet and a tap for clean (hot or cold) water in every house in the world.

  • First things first (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @06:42PM (#47242755)

    You might want to take a look at this [aidwatchers.com] (safe for work and all, don't worry, it's just a map of the night earth).

    And then you might ponder whether giving these people internet is going to do them much good.

    Hint: Sending a fridge into the middle of the desert doesn't allow the people there to refrigerate their goods. You know why? Same reason why internet won't work!

  • Re:"Affordable"? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by queazocotal (915608) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @06:54PM (#47242797)

    You really have no clue.
    In much of the 'third world' - phones - dumbphones are revolutionizing banking, and doing things to enable farmers to get higher prices for stuff at market, as well as microinvestment.
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/1011804... [cnbc.com]
    Firefox are launching a $25 phone. Is it a good nice internet access device - no.
    But it will render wikipedia (for example) and let someone track weather forecasts, and do email and essentially everything the internet was when you had a 9600 modem.
    (neglecting for the moment that it won't be able to connect to the above satellites - but in several years it's plausible for the same price).
    $25 is a lot of money for someone earning a dollar a day.
    But, it is much less expensive than the cost of schooling for a year for a child.

  • by Imrik (148191) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @07:13PM (#47242873) Homepage

    However that's true of a lot of people. I don't see why someone who programs or designs things on a computer would have a better chance. A better test would be to take away all their money and connections and see what they can do.

  • Culture Shock (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Scottingham (2036128) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @08:52PM (#47243229)
    Nobody has brought up an obvious (to me I guess) consideration.

    How would 'other 2/3' perceive the internet / computers in general in their cultural context.

    Imagine a refugee camp where war torn peoples flock across a border and are placed into a predesignated area. Now (if it was Turkey*) they'd have all the basic amenities, food, shelter, water, plumbing...tv. What they are lacking (as far as I can tell) is any pervasive computer/internet. Consequently, boredom is one of the biggest problems in these refugee camps.

    What if they all had the internet though?

    What would they do with something of that magnitude that they've never had before? Would it become self-organizing? Would they require classes? If so, how in-depth? What if the literacy rates were low? Could small pictographic games still provide entertainment? Could MMOs (or whatever) provide a sense of purpose, if only virtual, to somebody's life?


    Now take that microcosm and multiply it by 'the other 2/3'.

    We need to approach this as a legitimate problem that is capable of being solved through research and refinement.

    * http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02... [nytimes.com]
  • by Moskit (32486) on Monday June 16, 2014 @02:13AM (#47244107)

    Reason Google is behind this drive is that it will allow them (and NSA) to reach more consumers.

    Similar to how USA and other countries' corporations were happy to make Iron Curtain fail - not exactly for political/goodwill reasons, but to reach more consumers.

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