Grants:PEG/Outernet/Satellite Broadcasts of Wikipedia

Not funded
This grant submission from an organization in 2013-14 was not funded by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Prior to 2011, reasons for not funding this submission were communicated in private and may not be available on the discussion page. For more information about a particular request, please contact the grantee directly or send your questions to grants at wikimedia dot org.
  • Beginning in 2011, reasons for not funding this submission are communicated publicly on the discussion page of this submission.
  • Since this grant request was not funded, no report is required and no further action is required from the grantee.

Basic informationEdit

Grant request detailsEdit

Are you an organization, a group, or an individual?
Please provide your name, or the name of the group or organization requesting this grant.
Please provide the name (or username) of the main contact for this grant request. You do not need to disclose your legal name publicly.
Syed Karim
For groups and organizations only: Please provide the name (or username) of a second contact for this grant request.
Rachel Gottlieb
Please link to any relevant documents, including your website if you have one.

Project detailsEdit

Official project name
Satellite Broadcasts of Wikipedia
Using geostationary satellites to broadcasts Wikipedia to communities with limited or no internet access.
This is the date you begin work on your project. Please include a month, day, and year. You must include a project start date.
1 March 2014
Project completion date
This is the date you finish work on your project. Please include a month, day, and year. You must include a project completion date.
28 February 2015
Please describe the project in a few sentences
Over the course of 12 months, we will lease satellites transponders and use them to broadcast the full contents of Wikipedia. In order to properly develop the user experience and document the receive-process, we will start with two spot beams targeting the United States and Mexico. After the uplink/downlink process has been refined, we will datacast/broadcast local English and local language versions of Wikipedia to the entire world. The downloads will be refreshed daily with new content and then broadcast in an endless loop. This is the cheapest way to provide the sum of human knowledge to all of humanity.

Financial detailsEdit

Please request your grant in your local currency. WMF is able to grant funds in many currencies.

Amount and currency requested
USD 120,000
Please provide an equivalent amount in US dollars using the exchange rate provided by Oanda on the date you open this request
USD 120,000

For organizations onlyEdit

This section only needs to be completed by organizations requesting grants. Individuals and groups that are not incorporated do not need to complete this section.

Are you an incorporated organization able to provide local proof of nonprofit status within your country? For-profit organizations are not eligible to receive grants through the PEG program.
Answer YES
Outernet is a fiscally-sponsored project of MDIF, a New York-based 501(c)3 corporation.
Does your organization currently employ or engage any fulltime or part-time staff or contractors? If yes, please tell us how many staff or contractors you employ or engage, along with their functions or a link to your staff page. For example, "2 full time program managers and 1 part-time contractor accountant at 50% FTE each."
The Outernet project currently employs no staff.

Goals and measures of successEdit

Project goalEdit

Please briefly describe what will be accomplished if the project is successful.

Project goal
Access to Wikipedia will be available to virtually every inhabited location in the world, regardless of connectivity to the internet. Documentation will be created to show how existing and pervasive free-to-air satellite broadcasting receivers can save the Wikipedia-broadcasts and transfer them to local computers and mobile devices.

Measures of successEdit

Please provide a list of measurable criteria that will be used determine how successful the project is. You will need to report on the success of the project according to these measures after the project is completed.

Measures of success
Success will be measured by the number of countries in the world that broadcast-Wikipedia reaches. We will continuously poll local citizens to understand the following.

1. Is the signal is available. 2. What percentage of the population knows that Wikipedia is available without an internet connection? 3. What percentage of the population has accessed Wikipedia through the satellite broadcast?

Project scope and activitiesEdit

This section describes what will happen if this project is funded. Who will do what, and when?

List of activities
Individuals associated with Outernet will be responsible for contracting with the satellite operator to ensure that the signals are being properly broadcast. Additionally, we will document (in numerous languages) the process to receive, save, and transfer Wikipedia to computers and mobile devices. Lastly, we will develop and execute the survey methodology to determine if the datacasts are known to the general public and to what degree they are being used by the general public.


Please provide a detailed breakdown of project expenses according to the instructions here.

Grantees are subject to line-item scrutiny of expenses. Changes to the approved budget beyond 10% in any category must be approved in advance.

Project budget table

|Monthly transponder costs for global Ku-band coverage will come to $9000. |Mobile phone surveys in 200 countries through will receive a budget of $1000 per month. The latter figure can be adjusted, based on the importance of statistically significant survey results, which should be determined by the Grants Committee. Transponder costs could be reduced, but that would reduce the area of coverage. |Dedicated human resources will will be absorbed by Outernet and its fiscal sponsor, MDIF. We expect staff and contractor time to be the equivalent of 4 FTE.

Total cost of project
USD 440,000
Total amount requested from the Project and Event Grants program
USD 120,000
Additional sources of revenue that may fund part of this project, and amounts funded
Individual donations

Non-financial requirementsEdit

See a description of non financial assistance available. Please inform Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) of any requirements for non-financial assistance now.

Requests for non-financial assistance
We would like to publish a post about this project on WMF's blog. We would like Wikipedians to be aware of this effort and help us work out any kinks and bugs in the system.

Resources and RisksEdit


This section is used to highlight your potential for successfully executing this project.

Consider including the following information:

  • List of team members (names or usernames):
  • Onwiki evidence of community support (such as a project about this discussion):
  • Endorsements from community members or movement groups:
  • Special skills or qualifications this potential grantee or project lead brings to this project:
  • Evidence of past success in executing similar projects:
Syed Karim has been studying this problem for over four years. He has been developing this plan over the last year. It is large in scope, but very manageable with a small team. Similar satellite datacasting-projects have been deployed in the past with very solid results. In particular, Sat@Once by SES. Additionally, Outernet already has a very large list of volunteers who would like to assist in any way possible.

This section is used to identify key risks or threats that would prevent you from achieving your project goals and how you would mitigate those risks and threats.

The biggest risk is that the target audience will not be aware of the service. However, the survey tool that will gauge public adoption can also be used to promote awareness.


In the sections below, please describe how the project is related to the Wikimedia mission and Wikimedia's strategic priorities.

Fit to strategyEdit

How will this project support the key organizational objectives of
  • increasing reach (more people will access or contribute to Wikipedia or our other projects),
  • participation (more people actually contributing),
  • quality (more content, more useful content, or higher-quality content),
  • credibility (more trust in our projects),
  • organizational maturity and effectiveness (how it will move you or the Wikimedia community forward),
  • or financial sustainability (how it will help you achieve more in the long run)?
This statement should address at least one of the strategic priorities listed here specifically. See Project and Event Grants program criteria for decision making.
The project will enable world-wide access to numerous versions of Wikipedia. The project will increase awareness of Wikipedia and will showcase the value that the WikiMedia Foundation provides. As a result of being able to read Wikipedia, we expect that more people will actively seek out internet access so that they can also contribute to it.

This project moves Wikipedia forward by proving that a unidirectional Wikipedia-experience can be very useful, especially to those that would otherwise have no access. This project helps Outernet achieve more by proving the importance of freely-accessible broadcast data.


If the project will benefit a specific online community, please tell us.

Please provide a brief statement about how the project is related to other work in the Wikimedia movement. For example, does the project fit into a work area such as GLAM, education, organizational development, editor retention, or outreach?
This project fits into the work on education, as it offers Wikipedia access to everyone in the world.

If successful, will the project have the potential to be replicated successfully by other individuals, groups, or organizations? Please explain how in 1–2 sentences.
Yes, we will be very open with all of the processes to replicate the service. Documentation will be core to the project.

Please list other benefits to the movement here.
This project will prove the value of a basic level of information access.