" I sometimes like the idea of being in a place without access to the Internet, as a way to "turn off and tune out" all of the constant flow of communication and information that can sometimes be a real clutter to human lives."
Every device I know of has an OFF switch or can have a dead battery! You just have to have the courage and intestinal fortitude to use them!! :-)
I'm more skeptical about this grand scheme for global free WiFi. First of all, I think the amount of traffic will quickly overload the system making thru-put very poor. So much for emergency traffic! Second, if we clutter up the LEO sky's with a sufficient number of these cubes to provide continuous global coverage, think about the junk in orbit issues it will exascerbate. Third, even in LEO these access points will be listening for very weak WiFi signals. It won't take much to jam them.
In some ways I think this is a great idea, especially for those who have no or limited email access due to poverty or their remote location (though I agree with folks who think it will have a hard time passing legislative barriers). On the other hand, I sometimes like the idea of being in a place without access to the Internet, as a way to "turn off and tune out" all of the constant flow of communication and information that can sometimes be a real clutter to human lives. So it's a double-edged sword for me. But an ambitious and interesting project nonetheless!
The "dispersed around the globe" comment regarding low earth orbit caught my eye. Satellites don't maintain position over one point on the globe when in LEO. A satellite needs to be in geosynchronous orbit to do that; a much higher an costlier proposition.
Putting this large constellation in LEO seems like the possibility of orbit conflict would be much higher:
Cabe, sounds like Iridium. Remember that? It was (is) a worldwide, low earth ofbit (LEO) system. It is very expensive to use. The phones are large (compared to today's smart phones). The cost to design and launch such a system is very large and it will be interesting to see how it all gets paid for.
The other thing, which you allude to in your article, is that these systems would cross international borders. This might also be an issue, considering what some countries have done to control the Internet withing their borders.
This sounds great. I live near the Internet Archive here in San Francisco. I'm sure many internet pioneers envisioned this from the beginning.
Here in the U.S., I doubt that communications companies will allow it. AT&T just filed a patent for the "prevention of bandwidth abuse of a communications system". You can read more in the HuffPost article.
If one uses too much bandwidth for the "wrong kind of activity", the speed will automatically slow down. The provider determines what's right or wrong.
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