By Tim Hjersted
Dec 2, 2010
A school bus-sized satellite—the world's most capable—is for sale, as its corporate owner goes under. But rather than let it slowly die, a non-profit is raising money to repurpose it as a free internet provider for the poor.
Buy This Satellite says it'll take $150,000 in contributions to place a successful bid on the orphaned Terrestar-1, at which point its orbit will be moved in order to supply a connection to countries in need—for free. The group also plans to manufacture and distribute cheap satellite modems to get people hooked up on the ground. A lot of financial and bureaucratic trudging will have to be accomplished between cash raised and internet unleashed, but it's a wonderfully daring plan, and a noble one at at that. Countries like Papua New Guinea—which has an open orbital "slot" which the Terrestar-1 could move into—has internet access for only 2.1% of its population. A bus-sized router for the world's poor and internet-less could do a whole lot of good. (Summary by Gizmodo)