Some people pay lots of money drinking beer or smoking cigarettes. Others go see a lot of movies or ball games. Some people pay for college classes. Some people want everything for free - the hardware and the service.
I’ve gladly funded my education into learning about microwave technology by buying Outernet kits. Buying the Outernet kits barely funds keeping the lights on on the satellite end.
I never got in on the original Ku-band project. Had I joined in, I would have gladly bought the hardware then.
I was too late for Lantern, it was a new L-Band project. Had I joined in, I would have gladly bought one. I did get in on the tail end of the L-Band project though. I bought new hardware last October to get in on SDRx and DC2.0, knowing full well they were end of life and something else was coming up. My DC2.0 shorted out because it was exposed to rain outside. I still have my SDRx and have used it for experiments since.
I bought new hardware again in January to get in on DC3.0, a Ku-Band project that utilizes LoRa technology.
I bought a moRFeus earlier this April so that I could learn about a frequency converter.
I’ve also bought other hardware that does not support Outernet and their efforts - RF attenuators, LNA, LNBs, antenna hardware, tripods, etc.
I think it’s all about what you want out of the project. Are you buying an appliance and expecting free service forever, or are you spending a little pocket money to learn something? For me, it’s all about learning something and helping a project whose ultimate goal is datacasting to places that do not have Internet. Maybe later, it will evolve into a super-low cost two-way Internet service. Who knows?
If you really want to get involved in this current Alpha testing phase, there may be one or two kits still available. Ask @Syed