SF Wireless ISP MonkeyBrains Tries To Crowdfund $325 Million For A Satellite

from the or-something dept

Well, this is amusing. San Francisco wireless ISP MonkeyBrains (who some friends use and love) has posted an IndieGogo crowdfunding project in which they're seeking $325,000,000 (yes, that's $325 million) to build a satellite to deliver internet access. The "tiers" are interesting. The lowest is $5,000 (two people have claimed those already!) but then quickly escalate to $10 million for the second tier. Of course, if you pay that, you get a gigabit internet connection for 5 years (only 5? guys, c'mon!). The full description of the project is worth reading:


MonkeyBrains is a local ISP in San Francsico.  North Korea just launched a satellite; we want to as well.

The Cost Breakdown of Launching a Satellite

A quick internet search reveals that this is the cost for getting a satellite into orbit:

  • Satellite manufacture: $150M
  • Satellite launch: $120M
  • Launch insurance: $20M
  • In-orbit insurance: $20M
  • Satellite operations (15 years): $15M

Faster Internet!

Our initial research seems to indicate having a satellite in orbit may not speed up your internet at all. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_Internet_access#Geostationary_unsuitable_for_low-latency_applications].  However, if more research doesn't bode well for a geostationary satellite, we will take all of the $325M to fund either:

  • Fiber to the home.
  • A balloon tethered to the Farallon islands.
  • a hovering drone over the Bay.

Trust Us

Some people just can't beleive we want to make the Internet Faster and Cheaper (and more Out of Control) than it already is.  Your money will be spent well, and San Francisco (and possibly -- if funds allow) the entire Bay Area will benefit.  We have set this fundraiser as Fixed Funding, so there is no risk of sending MonkeyBrains a little bit of money from your wallet without many other people feeling the same way.

Obviously, this is a joke by MonkeyBrains, but it's still interesting to see. It appears that they're trying to use this as a bit of a marketing effort -- not all that different from some of the products we've offered for sale in our store. The reason people like crowdfunding goes beyond just the money-raising part to the fact that it can also be an effective marketing platform. Here, it looks like MonkeyBrains is testing out the marketing aspect with little likelihood of actually using the fundraising part.

Oh, and don't miss the video, in which they explain their plan to use UFOs to deliver little pieces of internet from the satellite to your computer.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 8:32pm

    I guess these guys don't know that you can get Google 1gbps internet dirt cheap.

    I doubt Google will wait too long before they start expanding their service area.

    Option #1
    Ten million for five years.

    Option #2
    Step 1
    Move to KS buy a $500,000 house.
    Step 2
    Sign up for 1gbps connection offered by Google. ($4,200 five years)
    Step 3
    Take your remaining nine million four hundrered ninety five thousand eight hundred and fucking live it up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2012 @ 2:28am


    Yeah, but we're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Evo, Dec 29th, 2012 @ 5:12am


    Yeah but then you'd need to live in Kansas City which may not be worth the 9 mil :D

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2012 @ 5:56am

    The "Dear Bay Area" Rant...

    Dear Silicon Vally and San Francisco-

    I want to bring to your attention that a local ISP called Monkey Brains, is attempting to acquire $325,000,000.00 for a sattelite designed to bring faster internet to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

    Normally, I'd find it amusing, your part of the country tends to come up with a lot of internet companies with catchy names. I thought Google was a funny name, until I realized what they were able to accomplish.

    Anyways, Monkey Brains should be an example for you. First of all, over a period of 3 to 7 years, you couldn't read a CNET article or comment in any Bay-area tech magazine without someone whining and complaining about AT&T unable to provide service. My phone and cell service is fine! In any situation, if your able to acquire $325M, please look at yourself in the mirror, and consider lobbying for less strict design standards for buildings and community planning/development.

    If $325M goal can be reached, it means that your design standards have caused a $325M problem.

    Then again, you know what? Go ahead and continue to have AT&T DSL. It works real well, where cities work with utility companies to develop smart services.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2012 @ 6:29am

    yes, you might be able to get high speeds once the connection is established, but with a Geosynchronous satellite at 25,000 Kms away you just cant get past the very high latency you have.

    Sure, your web page will download quickly after the 3 to 4 seconds it takes for your request for that page to overcome the LAT..

    Nothing you can do about that, cant make light travel any faster, or geo sat's any lower.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    sorry 35,786 Km above the equator, so if you live on the equator you have a total trip distance of 72,000km (longer if not on the equator), speed of light 300,000km/s

    total delay 240ms (1/4 of a second)

    that's over 10 times the Latency you can get with a DSL connection. (somewhere around dialup speeds for response)..

    a lot of money for a lemon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2012 @ 6:37am


    that is "Best Case" assuming zero processing time, and the equivalent delay you get when the other party talks through the bird, so you can instantly double that, then add a whole lot more.. you get the picture.. (eventually)..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Jikap (profile), Dec 29th, 2012 @ 6:41am

    So uhh...

    What would they do if some crazy maniac actually decided to give them $325M?

    I assume they haven't actually planned for that...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2012 @ 10:41am

    Re: So uhh...

    Well, *IF* someone actually gave them $325M, it would likely require all of the following--

    1. fancy name change, likely to something like "MicrosoftNetwork" or "MSN",
    2. only use Internet Explorer
    3. require a Hotmail address
    4. have blocked services so certain games won't work
    5. have special discounts on Windows Mobile Phone hardware.
    6.require special dialer software that only works with Windows.


    7. The Bay Area design specs will quickly be updated to not allow dishes larger than 10", rendering the entire effort useless. Bawhaha!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    "North Korea just launched a satellite; we want to as well. "

    But ... in this case the satellite will actually work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2012 @ 2:56am

    $325 mil is really cheap for a geosynchronous satellite they usually come in at over a billion, not include the cost of launch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2012 @ 4:11pm


    Their numbers are just plain wrong. It would cost considerably more. To the point where I don't even see how this supposed joke is even funny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Rudy, Dec 30th, 2012 @ 10:06pm

    Re: You are thinking inside the box.

    We are researching non-geosynchronous, low orbit paths this week. We'd deploy many small satellites... the future is cheap: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zacinaction/kicksat-your-personal-spacecraft-in-space

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    DeanMingo, Dec 31st, 2012 @ 7:37am

    Inside every joke is a brutal truth

    First the monkey provided inexpensive ultra fast wireless internet. Many laughed "Oh those crazy guys" They jumped over the hurdles clicking their heels. Why because the barrier was set both technically and commercially so low by the big guys. Now that's funny. The crowdfunding idea is a hoot, as are the UFOs bringing little bits of the internet to your home. The brutal truth is that there are or soon will be ways to break the copper shackles on a large scale. Someone will do it. Maybe Rudy and the gang. Or perhaps it is a jestful telling of the future... Like father like son.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    kitsune361, Jan 2nd, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    Quick! Hand me a nano-second!

    Satellite communications will always have terrible latency, regardless of the bandwidth. Where is Admiral Grace Hopper with a nanosecond when you need her?

    Oh here she is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEpsKnWZrJ8

    Still, very nice viral marketing campaign, maybe they'll get the money and beat Google to the fiber-to-desktop market there in the Bay Area.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. Thanks for such a nice post.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    MB, Jan 15th, 2013 @ 10:01am


    Google has no plans for SF yet. They have run into the same issues with fiber as Monkeybrains. The city really won't allow it. They have their own, very expensive, fiber network. Though, look for Monkeybrains fiber possibly this year.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    MB, Jan 15th, 2013 @ 10:03am


    We know, it wasn't even marketing. It's a bit of fun we are having in response to the North Korean launch. If you noticed, the tech we are talking about is just silly. It's a bit of fun.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2013 @ 4:16pm


    I'm guessing a service like this would be for massive data transfers and not the average users home service. You would have on the average of 900 to 1500 ms lag. I had a satellite internet connection years ago before I moved into town and that was the average lag I had.

    There are some things it would be really good for though.
    Downloading/Streaming huge files. "fap" lol
    First person shooter games.
    A outdoors microwave.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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