Initiative could change the face of the internet.
No that’s right, the not for profit organization, Mozilla, the same people who created the popular web browser, Firefox, are literally offering $2 million to anyone who can decentralize the internet…
And they’ve already started accepting applications for ideas that could make a new version of the internet a reality!
Mozilla’s hope is that someone will have a bold and practical enough idea that will be able to bring reliable internet connections to those people who need it the most, two examples being rural communities, and disaster victims.
Error: no connection
It’s a quite an irony, but most people reading this probably take their internet connectivity for granted. The truth is that the majority of the world’s population have no access to anything resembling a reliable internet connection. In fact, latest figures, show that some 4 billion people have next to no internet connection whatsoever. Mozilla highlight the fact that even in the US, connectivity is still a major issue, where some 10% have no access to even limited quality internet. That’s several million people, you know. “This number jumps to 39% in rural communities and 41% on Tribal lands. And when disasters strike, millions more can lose vital connectivity right when it’s needed most.”
Sounds like a huge challenge
It is, but then if anyone can help usher in a new area of an open and decentralized internet, it’s probably the Mozilla Foundation. As well as being a not-for-profit entity, their Firefox web browser is open source property, meaning that anyone can use the source code to create and modify their own browser if they have the technical knowledge. And at the end of the day, it’s all about the end users of the internet, i.e. you and me, as far as Mozilla are concerned
“To connect the unconnected and disconnected across the US., Mozilla today is accepting applications for the Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society (WINS) challenges. Sponsored by NSF, a total of $2 million in prize money is available for wireless solutions that get people online after disasters, or that connect communities lacking reliable Internet access.”
Philosophy: individualism, and access for all
At the core of the Mozilla’s decentralization $2 million bounty, is the belief that the internet is an essential global public resource, one that should be open and accessible to everyone. As we move closer to the midpoint of the 21st Century, not having access to reliable internet access is becoming less of an inconvenience and more of a staggering disadvantage. “Without access, individuals miss out on substantial economic and educational opportunities, government services and the ability to communicate with friends, family and peers.”
The Off Grid Internet Challenge: Keeping the internet up when disasters hit
When disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes strike, communications networks are among the first pieces of critical infrastructure to overload or fail.This challenge is all about finding ways to leverage existing current wireless technology to keep people connected to each other and offer vital messaging and mapping services after disasters strike. Something as simple as a self contained internet hotspot in a backpack could see someone walk away with a significant sum of money.
Smart community network challenge
Many communities across the US. lack reliable Internet access. Sometimes commercial providers don’t supply affordable access; sometimes a particular community is too isolated; so how do you overcome these challenges? Solar powered repeaters, or old phone booths? You decide!
How to apply?
To learn more and apply, simply visit wirelesschallenge.mozilla.org. Mozilla’s challenges are open to anyone and everyone, and prizes will be distributed for fully designed and working prototypes to just really good ideas drawn on paper.