Globally, 4 billion people have yet to access the Web. To invite these next billions of users online, access must be affordable. The tumbling price of smartphones, such as the Firefox OS handsets, is a clear step in this direction.
But few have taken the time to ask: What kind of Web do we need to build to unlock social and economic opportunities for people in emerging markets? Even if we solve key issues like access, affordability and efficiency, what will the next wave of users find when they get online? Will the Web be a place where they can access and create content that has a meaningful impact on their lives?
At present, there’s a shortage of digital content that has a sufficient understanding of specific cultural contexts, local conditions and the needs of local populations. It’s one of the reasons Mozilla is teaming up with the GSMA to explore ways to catalyze the creation of locally relevant content and unlock the promise of the Web for the next wave of users.
As a global community of technologists, thinkers and builders, Mozilla is working to keep the Web open and accessible. Both Mozilla and the GSMA – who represent 800 operators in 220 countries – recognize how the mobile Web can shape the industry’s future. Collectively, we recognize the role that locally relevant content has to play in improving social and economic outcomes around the world.
Over the next 6-12 months, we’ll be exploring projects focused on low-cost smartphones, digital literacy training and local content. Initial field tests in Bangladesh, Kenya, Brazil and India are currently underway. We are looking to build a coalition of mobile operators, device manufacturers, educators, international development donors, and NGOs who are interested in positively shaping the future of the mobile Web.
Watch this space for updates on our progress, and read our full white paper here.