Off-grid education gives regions without internet access to content and learning tools
US-based charity project offers free web access to under-connected countries via a portable, solar-powered Wi-fi receiver
Arguably more important than high-speed education is low-bandwidth learning applications for remote places.
Improving access to education in the off-grid world is a problem being addressed by New York-based charity Outernet, which aims to become “humanity’s public library” by providing free, unrestricted and uncensored web access for the entire planet.
Available to anyone with its portable, solar-powered Wi-fi receiver called Lighthouse, Outernet promises free internet from existing telecoms satellites, but is limited to 10 megabytes per person, per day. It’s only a one-way link – no uploads are possible – and it’s primarily designed to push Wikipedia, e-books and Teachers Without Borders resources to schools in remote places.
“Outernet is a project which tries to connect the less internet-connected countries and regions and to provide such places with content and learning tools,” says Dr Yuen Kin-sun at The Open University of Hong Kong who thinks it will be used by philanthropic organisations wanting to help less developed countries.