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Mozilla calls for ideas to connect more people to Internet

The ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’ is a $250,000-contest, including expert mentorship to spark new ways to connect everyone to the Internet

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | November 2, 2016

Mozilla-Equal-Rating-Innovation-Challenge

Internet company Mozilla recently announced the launch of ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge,’ a competition that invites contributions on ways to provide access to the open Internet across the globe. As part of this initiative, Mozilla has invited entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and innovators to propose creative and scalable ideas for connecting more people to the Internet, built on local knowledge and expertise.

The Equal Rating Innovation Challenge will support promising solutions through expert mentorship and funding of $250,000 in prize monies split into three categories -- Best Overall (based on scalability), Best Overall Runner-up and Most Novel Solution (based on experiment with a potential high reward).

Katharina Borchert, Chief Innovation Officer, Mozilla, in a blog post said, “At Mozilla, we believe the Internet is most powerful when anyone – regardless of gender, income, or geography – can participate equally. However the digital divide remains a clear and persistent reality.”

https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2016/10/13/bringing-the-power-of-the-internet-to-the-next-billion-and-beyond/

She added, “This challenge is designed to spur innovations for bringing the members of the next billion online. The Equal Rating Innovation Challenge will be focused on identifying creative new solutions to connect the unconnected. These solutions may range from consumer products and novel mobile services to new business models and infrastructure proposals.”

Mozilla has launched www.equalrating.com, a website offering educational content and background information to support the challenge. In the coming weeks, Mozilla will also stream a series of webinars stream to further inform potential applicants about the challenge details.

According to the data made available from a 2014 McKinsey report, India comes under the ‘medium-high’ category of regions facing barriers for Internet adoption. Approximately 1,424 million people are still offline with a 19 per cent Internet penetration. Broadly, the challenges are due to lack of incentives and infrastructure as well as mixed demographics.

In India, open Internet and net neutrality are salient subjects as the government is focused on bridging the digital divide and creating an environment where people can benefit, both personally and commercially. With this aim, the government launched its ‘Digital India Campaign’ in 2015 to transform the country into a digitally powered knowledge economy.

Borchert added, “Connecting the unconnected is one of the greatest challenges of our time. No one organisation or effort can tackle it alone. We must come together and collaborate to build innovative and scalable ways to bring Internet access to the next billion -- and the other billions, as well.”

Important Dates:

November 1, 2016: Submissions opened.

November 14, 2016: Announcement of Judges.

January 6, 2017 (23:59 GMT): Submissions to be closed: Last day to submit an entry.

January 17, 2017: 5 semi-finalists to be announced.

January 18 – March 8, 2017 – Mentorship: 5 semi-finalists will be provided advice and mentorship from Mozilla experts in topics such as policy, business, engineering, and design to hone their concepts.

March 9, 2017 – Demo Day: 5 semi-finalists will take part in a Demo Day to pitch their solutions to the judges. Demo Day will be live streamed on the website.

March 10 – March 16, 2017: Community voting

March 29, 2016: Winners to be announced

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