BBC 6 minute English-Outernet

BBC 6 minute English-Outernet

BBC 6 minute English-Outernet


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

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 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

INSERT Syed Karim, business entrepreneur

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

INSERT 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

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