WiderNet Project starts from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It is basically a microchip development which offers huge data so that people can search mostly anything but without the internet connection.  It is done via hard drive and it is suitable for developing countries which does not have access to internet.

WiderNet has worked with thousands of publisher such as Wikipedia, Khan Academy as well as Project Gutenberg since 2001.  It copies the enitre content of the websites into an offline searchable database. Currently it reaches about 32 millions documents on a 4 terabyte hard drive which is accessible without internet connection.

This project is different from other projects which also have similar objective which is to provide information to places which are not connected by internet. However, other project such as Project Loon by Google and Internet.org by Facebook is using beams to transfer the data which is definitely a lot bigger than what WiderNet project scope.

WiderNet has worked on a project similar to the two projects before. It used satellite to update information of the digital libraries a few years ago. However, it was so expensive and there was a little demand. There were about 300 installations but only about six people were willing to pay to get the updates. It seems like it is not practical to do it.

On top of that, the cost of having internet at home in United States is about $25 to $50 a month which is what the people in developing countries earning in a month. Hopefully, someday there is a way to be able to broadcast updates inexpensively. However, in the meantime, WiderNet will further collaborate with librarians, educators and volunteers to provide information to places where it was needed the most.

 

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