It's unfortunate that Internet regulation worldwide tends to be in the hands of people who know very little about the Internet and altogether too much about regulation. At the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, hackers have come up with a new idea: their very own space-based Internet service.
The idea of launching a DIY satellite Internet network may be fairly crazy, but it's not as crazy as it would have been just five or ten years ago. Everybody and their kids are sending balloons up to what's practically now, and with commercial satellite launches poised to get dirt cheap (relatively speaking) within the next decade, a private communications network might actually be feasible.
In the short term, the idea would be to deploy satellites into low orbit, which is the easiest and most practical orbit to reach. The downside of low orbits is that the sats are zooming around the Earth super fast (like, 90 minutes to go all the way around), which means that you'd need a whole heck of a lot of them to ensure that your customers on the ground will be able to maintain a reliable connection. You'd also need a bunch of ground stations to be able to track and communicate with all these satellites, but that's something that can be crowdsourced through a distributed array of low-cost receivers that should only cost about $125 each.
Nobody is saying that this project is going to be easy, but the idea of an uncensorable Internet in space is getting more and more appealing as governments take it upon themselves to Big Brotherify our existing networks. Think about it: how much would you pay for an Internet service provider that you can trust, independently of the clueless bludgeoning whims of governments and regulators?