Free Global Wi-Fi Connection Using “Outernet”

April 10, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. bridge the gap /brɪdʒ ðə gæp/ (idiom) – to create a connection between two different things
Example: The government designs economic plans to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

2. far-flung /ˈfɑrˈflʌŋ/ (adj.) – having far distance
Example: Network signal is rare in far-flung areas.

3. reach /ritʃ/ (n.) – area of coverage or the distance capable of being contacted
Example: The Wi-Fi connection’s reach extends to our neighbor’s house.

4. launch /lɔntʃ/ (v.) – to begin or start something
ExampleA group of researchers recently launched a new experiment.

5. restricted /rɪˈstrɪkɪd/ (adj.) – limited or unavailable to certain areas
Example: Some regions in the country have restricted Internet access.


Read the text below.
A team of IT experts from New York is currently developing a technology to give everyone free Internet access anywhere.

The project called “Outernet” was founded in December 2013 by Syed Karim [see-yed kah-RIM], Aaron Rogers [AIR-uhn ROJ-ers], Branko Vukelic [brang-ko VOO-keh-leech], and Edward Birrane [ED-werd buh-REYN]

The team plans to launch a network of small satellites [SAT-l-ahyts] that will send Wi-Fi [WAHY-fahy] signals from space. This connection will bridge the gap between global information and people from far-flung areas. The IT experts hope to provide free access to online educational materials, references, international news, and other programs.

Outernet’s mechanism will be similar to the Wi-Fi “multicasting” used in crowded areas like stadiums. With several 10-centimeter cube-shaped satellites called “cubesats” thrown to the space, Wi-Fi connection’s reach will be widened across the Earth.

However, developed cities or countries with existing networks or Wi-Fi hotspots may not benefit from Outernet as much as areas without network connections. This means that Outernet would be more useful in countries with restricted Internet access like China and North Korea.

Outernet, which is supported by the Media Development Investment Fund, will start sending out satellites in space in June 2015.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think of the “Outernet” project? Please explain your answer.
·         Can you think of any disadvantages of having free internet access (i.e. for Internet service providers, etc.)?

Discussion B

·         Do you think Internet access is important? Why or why not?
·         Without the Internet, how do you think people’s way of living will change? Please explain your answer.


April 10, 2014