Imagine an Internet without Limits: Share Your Ideas in the Mozilla Ignite Apps Challenge

[Source: ZeroDivide, by Laura Efurd, June 14, 2012]

Mozilla Ignite logoImagine an Internet so powerful that it is virtually unlimited. What kind of world would this be? How would it change our society and solve our most pressing social issues?

Imagine that “Star Trek” technologies like tricorders will improve health care for millions. Students in rural or inner-city communities will be able to attend any university at any time, virtually. Data on infectious diseases will be tracked and analyzed so quickly that we can prevent future outbreaks. The public transportation system will be more efficient and cheaper. The ability to perform real time collaboration with colleagues throughout the world will open up new job opportunities where they currently don’t exist.

This is the world that we are being asked to imagine in a new Mozilla Ignite Apps Challenge launched today by the White House as part of a new initiative to spur new innovations in high-speed Internet (broadband) to boost the economy. The Challenge seeks to spur the development of new applications that take advantage of this next generation of broadband networks that will have speeds up to 250 times greater than our current broadband in areas of public benefit like education, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, public safety and clean energy.   

But wait, how can we be thinking about applications with ultra high-speed Internet when we still have a digital divide in this country? When we still have 37% of housesholds without broadband Internet access and 1 in 5 adults don’t use the Internet?  

ZeroDivide was founded on the idea that the digital divide is part of a larger set of divides in our country – economic, healthcare, education, language and cultural. As we continue to promote broadband access and adoption among underserved communities, we would be remiss if we didn’t help envision how new technologies and applications can help bridge ALL of these divides. The needs and issues of our most vulnerable communities can’t be left out of the mix; we need to be thinking now about how they can access and benefit from these networks.

That is why it is so important that the Mozilla Ignite Apps Challenge include ideas from folks who are trying to address the most pressing issues in our communities. In fact, the Challenge was specifically designed so that non-techies and everyday folks can participate and even win prizes! The Challenge includes a “brainstorming stage” where anyone and everyone can share their ideas. There are cash prizes for the best ideas and there is the possibility that developers could build your app into reality.

Please visit ZeroDivide's Mozilla Ignite Apps Challenge overview to learn more about the Challenge and next generation broadband, and to  download a guide on how to conduct a brainstorming “Ideajam." For examples on how communities are using next generation broadband networks today, see the Broadband at the Speed of Light report by the Benton Foundation and the Institute for Local Self Reliance.

Please join us in envisioning the future and all the ways ultra high-speed Internet can create a society with zero divides.