Mozilla and GSMA Join Forces to Bring the Next 4 Billion People Online
Mozilla is aiming at bringing the Internet access to the next 4 billion people, and for that purpose, it has partnered with the GSMA to explore ways to help enable the mobile Web access in the remote geographies not yet connected.
The organization is also planning on developing the content creation tools, which it believes is ‘the key to unlocking the value of the Web’ for users worldwide.
Mozilla and GSMA recently released a white paper in which they have discussed the challenges they have to face while accomplishing their goal. The key issues involved in getting the next billions of users online are access, affordability and efficiency.
Web-enabled smartphones need to become easily available and affordable, and to that end, Mozilla has already launched its open-source Firefox OS for smartphones so that handset makers could produce low-cost devices in the developing world.
Firefox OS phones are currently available in India for as low as $32. Mozilla’s home-grown OS offers all the ‘basic’ features one desires in a smartphone, and it’s undoubtedly an appreciable initiative to bridge the digital divide around the globe.
However, that’s possible only if the access to mobile networks is made available at a price users can pay. This requires a serious investment from operators. They invested $1 trillion into mobile networks globally in the last 6 years, and that level of investment needs to be carried on over the coming years.
Even if we’re successful in solving these issues and bring the next wave of users online, will they be interested in the Web in its current form?
Just over half (55.8%) of Web content is in English, and that seems to be odd considering the fact that less than 5 percent of the world’s population speak English as a first language and only 21 percent are estimated to have some level of understanding.
According to Mozilla, if this trend continues, this will lead to “a broadly connected but less empowered Web citizenry.” The next billion users will find Web to be a less welcoming place, and the content won’t seem to create a meaningful impact on their lives.
“The long-term impact of that could include delayed adoption of smartphones, meaning the potential benefits of a connected planet are not realised,” the report predicts.
Now, by joining forces with the GSMA, which is the representative of 800 operators in 220 countries around the world, Mozilla is determined to provide people with both the skills and the tools to create relevant local content.
The organization is working on building a mobile content authoring system called Mozilla Webmaker, which it believes would help anyone with a smartphone to create digital content. This will, in turn, bring more potential users to the Web.
Initial tests of these ideas are currently underway in Bangladesh, Kenya, Brazil and India. Mozilla and the GSMA hope their efforts will help bring innovation across the mobile ecosystem as well as shape the future of the Web.
Source: The Mozilla Blog