Could Satellites Bypass an Internet Shutdown?

Online censorship and Internet kill-switches could meet their match if satellite-enabled services and ground peer-to-peer networks become more widespread in the future. That's the view of Kosta Grammatis, CEO and founder of, who sees Internet access as a basic necessity.

An independent satellite operator could have kept Egyptian protesters online and connected to the outside world despite the Egyptian government's shutdown of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) this past week. Governments would find it difficult to jam an independent satellite signal across an entire country, Grammatis said in a TIME interview.

At the same time, more peer-to-peer "mesh" networks on the ground could have allowed Egyptians to communicate online amongst themselves despite the broader Internet shutdown. The mesh networks and satellites represent two parts of a broader strategy by Grammatis and to get more people online.

Grammatis previously launched a "Buy This Satellite" initiative that aims to buy out a communications satellite and move it to a new orbital slot to provide free basic Internet service to developing countries. But he needs business partners with deep pockets.

"Google comes to mind first, Richard Branson second," Grammatis told during a previous interview.

Jeremy has written for publications such as Popular Science, Scientific American Mind and Reader's Digest Asia. He obtained his masters degree in science journalism from New York University, and completed his undergraduate education in the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania.