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  • Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil...

  • Catherine: ...and I'm Catherine. Hello.

  • Neil: Hello, Catherine! Now, how was your holiday?

  • Catherine: My holiday was lovely, Neil. I was staying

  • I was staying on a beautiful island.

  • It was very remote and there was actually no internet access.

  • So, I did feel quite cut off actually.

  • Neil: And cut off means isolated.

  • How did you survive, Catherine?

  • Catherine: Well, it wasn't easy. But I had my e-reader

  • that's an electronic device which lets you store and read lots of books from the internet.

  • And I read a lot of Harry Potter...

  • Neil: Harry Potter? I know you like wizards, Catherine,

  • but shouldn't you have downloaded some classic literature?

  • How about Shakespeare's The Tempest?

  • That's got a wizard in it too.

  • Catherine: Well, yes indeed.

  • But Shakespeare on the beach isn't quite right for me, Neil.

  • Neil: Right. Well, today we're talking about how the poorer and more remote

  • or distant - parts of the world can get access to learning.

  • Catherine: That's right. But before we start, Neil,

  • I believe you have a quiz question for us.

  • Neil: Yes, I do.

  • I would like to know what the proportion of the world's population that still has no internet access is.

  • Is it... a) a quarter?

  • b) half?

  • or c) two thirds?

  • Catherine: I'm going to go for c) two thirds.

  • Neil: Well, we'll find out if you're right or wrong later on in the programme.

  • So Catherine, how can these people get connected to the internet

  • and start surfing?

  • Catherine: By using the Outernet.

  • Neil: The Outer what?

  • Catherine: The Outernet. That's the idea of entrepreneur Syed Karim

  • and its goal is to give people in unconnected communities access to information

  • without having to use expensive mobile phones or two-way satellite networks.

  • Neil: I see.

  • And an entrepreneur, by the way, is a person who makes money

  • by starting their own business that typically involves some financial risk.

  • Catherine: Yes, I've always fancied myself as a bit of an entrepreneur.

  • Neil: Well, you'll need money and ideas, Catherine.

  • Have you got either of those?

  • Catherine: I've got ideas.

  • Neil: Right. OK. I get it.

  • Catherine: So, can you tell us how the Outernet works, Neil?

  • Neil: Yes, I can. The Outernet uses existing communications satellites to store and broadcast data

  • broadcast means to send out signals or programmes.

  • Special equipment on the ground picks up

  • or receives - the data, and this can be copied to phones and computers.

  • Catherine: But the Outernet broadcasts data offline

  • which means it's not connected to the Internet.

  • There's no communication with the internet for user

  • so, no emails, no chat forums.

  • And that can be a big drawback - or disadvantage.

  • Neil: Yes. The Outernet doesn't provide two-way communication.

  • But let's hear Syed Karim discussing why one-way access has some advantages.

  • And see if you can spot another word meaning 'two-way'.

  • Syed Karim: Anything that is related to bi-directional communications,

  • the internet, to be able to provide that to the entire world,

  • those are billion dollar projects,

  • multi-billion dollar projects with huge time horizons and enormous complexity.

  • And, you know, our solution that we are offering is instantaneous,

  • I mean, it exists right now.

  • Neil: Did you get it?

  • Another way of saying two-way is bi-directional.

  • So what are the advantages of one-way communication, Catherine?

  • Catherine: It's significantly cheaper.

  • Bi-directional communications are multi-billion dollar projects.

  • But the Outernet allows poorer communities to benefit from access to information.

  • Neil: Yes, it does.

  • And the other big problem is the time it would take to establish two-way access.

  • Syed says these projects have huge time horizons

  • and this means the length of time it takes to complete a project

  • they're huge, so very big.

  • Catherine: But the Outernet is already providing access

  • to some of the world's most valuable knowledge.

  • Neil: That's right.

  • The project aims to create a library of information

  • taken from websites including Wikipedia and Project Gutenberg,

  • which is a collection of copyright-free e-books.

  • Copyright-free means the right to use material without paying any fees.

  • Catherine: That sounds good.

  • But let's go back to the internet and hear from a BBC reporter

  • talking about another project which aims to get people connected.

  • BBC reporter: Google for example is working on Project Loon,

  • a network of high-altitude helium balloons,

  • which will boost Internet connections across much wider areas

  • beyond coverage from conventional masts.

  • Neil: It's called Project Loon

  • meaning crazy - because Google thought it was such a crazy idea,

  • and loon sounds like balloon!

  • Catherine: Yeah. The idea is that users will connect to the balloon network

  • or group of interconnected balloons - using an antenna attached to their building.

  • The signal travels through the balloon network from balloon to balloon

  • and then to a station on the ground that's connected to the Internet.

  • Neil: The balloons will boost - or increase

  • the number of people who will be able to access the Internet.

  • Catherine: Yes, it will.

  • And that's because there will be lots of them

  • compared to the number of masts

  • or tall metal towers that send and receive signals

  • that are currently used.

  • Neil: OK, let's have the answer to the quiz question I asked

  • What proportion of the world's population still has no internet access?

  • Is it ... a) a quarter?

  • b) half?

  • or c) two thirds?

  • Catherine: And I said c) two thirds.

  • Neil: And you were right! The answer is two thirds.

  • Well done, Catherine.

  • Catherine: Thank you.

  • Neil: Now just time to listen to today's words once again. Catherine.

  • Catherine: OK. We heard:

  • e-reader

  • remote

  • entrepreneur

  • broadcast

  • picks up

  • drawback

  • bi-directional

  • one-way

  • time horizons

  • copyright-free

  • balloon network

  • boost

  • masts

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • I hope you enjoyed connecting with us today!

  • Please join us again soon.

  • Both: Bye.

Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil...

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B1 UK TOEIC catherine access balloon directional bi

BBC 6 Minute English June 11, 2015 - The Outernet

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    Adam Huang posted on 2015/06/12
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