Today, the first step was taken towards universal information access when Outernet unveiled its first broadcast signal to the public. The doors have officially opened to humanity’s public library, but watch out for the wet paint. Many of the bookshelves are not finished yet and there is still much more work to be done.
For one, the signal right now only touches about 1.3 billion people, far short of 100% of humanity. North America, Europe, most of the Middle East, and North Africa are the only regions currently receiving the Outernet signal. This test signal is being broadcast over Ku-band, which requires a dish and a slightly complicated assembly process, though everything does work. Outernet also has a limited selection of content: a few hundred Wikipedia articles, a few dozen books from Project Gutenberg, and a similar number of news articles from Deutsche Welle. Again, this will expand very soon. Users can request content via a basic form, a process that will mature significantly in the coming months.
Yet, slowly, the grip of censorship is being pushed back. Today, Outernet also announces a very exciting partnership with Project Gutenberg, the oldest producer of free ebooks. Greg Newby, Director of the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, says,
"I'm thrilled at the Outernet vision of free-to-air broadcast of eBooks and other content. It is Project Gutenberg's mission to encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks. We have a focus on free access to information for all people, in the pursuit of literacy and enlightenment. Outernet has a vision that is wonderfully aligned with Project Gutenberg, encompassing free access, freedom from censorship and monitoring, and unlimited distribution."
Outernet continues to rely on the support and feedback of individuals and organizations passionate about eradicating barriers to people everywhere reading, watching, and listening to whatever they wish. If Outernet is not broadcasting to your part of the world a right now, we hope to soon.
Outernet challenges you to #ImagineIf censorship did not exist and information were broadcast from space to everyone for free. What would that world look like? What new inventions could be created or diseases cured? What would people read about if their governments no longer deprived them of their right to free information?
Today, we begin moving from imagining to creating.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://blog.outernet.is/2014/08/press-release-outernet-test-signal-is.html