Monday, June 01, 2009

The other 3 billion

I've only just caught up on this story, so excuse it being a little 'old.'

The 'other 3 billion' is a phrase used to describe the 3 billion people on the planet who don't have ready access to the Internet. O3b Networks is based in the Channel Islands and has a project well under way to provide 16 satellites that will drop the cost for ISPs and operators to provide Internet access over 3G (third-generation) and WiMax networks to people in countries like Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.

Partnered with HSBC (a worldwide banking corporation), Google, and Liberty Global, a private equity provider that provides phone and Internet access in 15 countries, this project will use medium range satellites, which can recieve and send signals at around 120 milliseconds, which is close to that of a fibre network. While fibre networks were already available in developed countries, the laying of them is not economically feasible elsewhere.

Why is this of interest to the Church? Because the Internet is one of the most extraordinary gifts humankind have received in the last century. It enables evangelism, outreach and ministry on a scale undreamt of, and achieves these in a myriad of ways. Certainly, like any other system, it has a dark side, but this isn't a reason to ignore it.

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