Free Internet at petabyte speeds and free cellphone service? After double-checking the date to ensure it wasn't April Fools' Day, I contacted Microsoft to see if the press release was true; had Microsoft partnered with Storja Tech, a company that is claiming it will provide "free Internet and cellphone service plans in the Continental United States beginning in 2015" and "free internet to the world by 2016?" I've reached out to Microsoft and Storja Tech to find out if this is too good to be true.
The PR statement claims:
Storja Tech is proud to announce that we have partnered with Microsoft to develop our new telecommunication technology. We are thrilled to have a partner to help bring this revolutionary product and service to the world. Our goal has always been to enable the world to connect to data at unimaginable speeds outside of the current infrastructure.
Storja Tech has asked you to imagine having access to a new product and service that you didn't previously know about. Apparently none of the tech giants knew about it either, as Storja Tech took out a huge LA Times ad promising a secret sauce to whichever firm partnered with it. "The firm that we partner with will be the leader of the tech industry within two years and the largest company in the world."
Storja has made a plethora of boldly exciting claims, yet nothing concrete enough to tell you what the secretive "Project R" even is for certain. We'll get to those claims in a minute, but Storja referenced the LA Times ad and an auction that only Fortune 500 companies could bid in. Storja wrote, "We will only be moving forward with one partner as we feel that is the best option for everyone." Before I emailed Storja asking if the highest bid of $3,550,001 belonged to Microsoft, the link to the auction did not lead to a 404 error and I captured a screenshot.
Storja Tech's binary code signature states "from the future" and the wild claims surely sound as if they could be from the future. The company refers to its mysterious technology as "Project R." Below are but a few of Storja's statements:
Our goal for Project R is to connect all physical and non-physical goods based on the Internet of things but at speeds greater than our imagination can handle. It will affect almost every single industry that the world population deals with on a daily basis.
Most importantly Project R will bring consumers more and more choices in the way they communicate. No longer will there be just a few choices when we have to choose cable, Internet, or cell phone providers. One of the greatest things about our technology is that it does not rely on any conventional methods of transmission such as copper, fiber optic, BPL or any other land based infrastructure.
Project R will allow data, whether we are talking about the Internet, phone calls, file transfer or any other transmissions at speeds in the petabytes/second and even faster for commercial applications.
Another breakthrough with this technology is it will confront head on the current privacy and security issues that are occurring across the world in record numbers. The encryption power and privacy that we will be able to offer will give peace of mind to companies, individuals, and governments.
The Twitter account @StorjaTech tweeted an advanced apology to ISP and cellphone providers on the same day that the Storja promised to provide free Internet and cellphone service plans in the United States beginning in 2015. A short time later, the company promised free access to the Internet to everyone in the world by 2016.
Another of Storja's "solutions from the future" deals with shipping for brick-and-mortar tech retail stores. It is as mysterious as the company's Project R claims. "Lets role-play for a second here," Storja suggests. "You are the customer and I am an Apple Salesperson. As you walk into the store you tell me the product you love, I show it to you, and then you buy it. Ten minutes later when you arrive home or at work your new Apple gear is waiting for you. That is streamlined shipping; that is the future, and that is what we will bring to the world."
Shipping in 10 short minutes? Surely this isn't drone delivery as Amazon proposed, I asked Storja. The shipping is just part one in Storja's 20-part series "about how we plan to change the world."
Forget Google Fiber bringing gigabit Internet networks to a few choice areas in the U.S. If Storja can deliver on even half of what it has already promised, free petabyte-speed Internet, and Microsoft is the only partner, then this could be huge for the Redmond giant...and for the world. But until there is confirmation of this being fact and not fiction, this could be a PR trick. I sure hope not, but I'm waiting to hear back from Microsoft and from Storja Tech.
Update, that's no real update: After a week of pestering Microsoft, in typical slow-as-molasses, unhelpful fashion, the company gave another of its stellar comments. "We are unaware of any partnership with Storja, and as such, cannot comment on the rumors/speculation."
Gosh, I just love Microsoft. At least it puts an end to any more of Storja's wild claims for now.
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