Remember BuyThisSatellite? So your man heard about Terrestar going bankrupt and one of their comsats going begging, and had the brilliant idea of crowdsourcing the money to buy the thing and redeploy it over Africa or perhaps Iran and, uh, provide Internet access to people who really needed it.
So what happened? Well, someone with more money bought it, and the fella’s been doing a lot of TED talks and distributing the spare donations to other projects he likes.
If it was a question of getting access to some transponders up there, there have been quite a few amateur radio satellites (even Soviet student ones), the ISS has been used, and then there are the old US Navy FLTSATCOM birds that Brazilians use to blather away for free.
But the biggest problem would have been the ground hardware. It’ll be hard to find a satellite radio modem anywhere you might need such a project. The sad thing here is that designing something suitable might be the kind of thing within the reach of a meme-of-the-second kickstarter project. Here’s a blog post about a $17 satellite TV tuner dongle that turns out to be a software-defined radio, and some more about those FLTSATCOM satellites.
You’d be lucky to get 2.4Kbps but there you go.