Posted by: carolbcarolb | November 13, 2011

Buy this satellite.

AHUMANRIGHT.ORG’s mission is to build a free communication network that would be available anywhere in the world. This group started an initiative called Buy This Satellite with the goal of raising enough money to buy the Terrestar-1 satellite to fulfill their plan of making Internet access free and global. They had a 3 phase plan to purchase and launch the satellite, and undaunted by this enormous challenge, they launched an educational and fundraising campaign, and they managed to raise… $64,000. On 7/26/11 the satellite was sold to the DISH network for 1.375 billion dollars.

Hand in hand with the issue of universal Internet access is the issue of access to computers. The One Laptop Per Child foundation distributes low-cost, low-power laptops to children around the world. To date, they have distributed around 2 million laptops, a great accomplishment, but if there are now 7 billion people in the world, and only 1/3 of them own computers, that leaves an enormous gap to fill. An example of a government’s work in the area of increasing computer access is the government of India who recently released a very low-cost tablet with the technological ability to be used with current web-based applications. Thinking about the work of groups like the two mentioned above, I wonder if grassroots organizations can succeed with their missions without help from the government.

***

1. Can grassroots organizations make a difference in the quest for universal Internet access and computer ownership? Will they ever be able to access enough funds through private donations to compete with corporations?

2.  Is universal Internet access possible without government assistance, or without it being a governmental mandate?

3.  Taking into consideration the tenents of neoliberalism, do you think that the US government would be “allowed” (by the media giants) to make universal Internet access a reality?

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