How is funding going to be secured?

So on the forum that led me here, someone posted:

It costs 100m to launch a satellite, and usually a couple hundred million to build one, but let’s say they are building them for 50m each. 150 satellites to make the system operational would therefore cost about 22 billion dollars, and that’s before any R&D, maintenance costs (hundreds of millions per year), and the ungodly immense task of complying with radio regulation (and paying licensing) in hundreds of countries.

You can’ t kickstart a 20 billion dollar project, do they have any funding secured for this? Even if they had a billion dollars secured it would still be an almost impossible prospect to get underway.

“requesting time on the International Space Station” Yeah, they have this planned for 2014, do they even have the process started? This sounds like a lot of hot air.

I wanted to donate a little, even if just once (or maybe even becoming a regular) but it made me wonder, will my money just be burned due to the fact that the project may never take-off (quite literally)?

There will be more details to come over the next few weeks and months, but I’m happy to offer a preview and response to your question.

Conventional satellites are works of technological art. And they are huge. Combine those two facts and you arrive at a price tag of $300M to build and launch a conventional telecommunications satellite. Now, those are very, very capable systems–and for that amount of money they better be!

We have no desire to play that billion-dollar game. Instead, we’re going to make do with as little as possible and solve one specific problem: free broadcast data for the world. Instead of a few hundred million dollars to build and launch, we’re building tiny satellites for a few hundred thousand dollars (hopefully even less than that). This project will go in stages. There will be an experimental constellation that will cost a few million dollars. It will provide a limited amount of data, but it will help prove the concept. And then we’ll move to a more expensive constellation with far more satellites, which is necessary for significantly increased capacity of the system. Outernet will cost a lot of money–there’s just no way around that–but we’re talking about tens of millions, not tens of billions. And as a point of reference, Ubuntu was able to raise $20M on IndieGogo for an open source smartphone.

If the world wanted to crowdsource this, it would definitely be possible. But, to be on the safe side, we’re not banking on that as our only financing option.

The people who will be helped the most by this great project will be those who cannot presently afford to have internet, and therefore are the most unable to contribute donations. I do believe, if this project was presented as a potentially profitable “company” with opportunities for people world wide to invest by purchasing stocks, that the money would pour in much more quickly from those who have the money to invest.