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News Release: W3C Seeks Partners to Explore Role of Mobile in Bridging Digital Divide

From: Marie-Claire Forgue <mcf@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 17:13:03 +0200
Message-ID: <483C24FF.2060302@w3.org>
To: w3c-news@w3.org

As part of the growing set of W3C initiatives related to social 
development, W3C launches a new group chartered to explore the potential 
of mobile technology to help bridge the digital divide. The mobile Web 
for development (MW4D) work is part of W3C's Mobile Web Initiative, 
which aims to identify and resolve challenges and issues of accessing 
the Web when on the move.

For more information, please contact Ian Jacobs, W3C Head of 
Communications, at +1.718.260.9447, or contact the W3C Communications 
Team representative in your region.

--------------------------------------------------------------

W3C Seeks Partners to Explore Role of Mobile in Bridging Digital Divide

Multidisciplinary Forum to Address Access, Literacy, Sustainability 
Challenges

Web Resources
-------------

This press release:
  in English: http://www.w3.org/2008/05/mw4dig-pressrelease.html.en
  in French: http://www.w3.org/2008/05/mw4dig-pressrelease.html.fr
  in Japanese: http://www.w3.org/2008/05/mw4dig-pressrelease.html.ja

W3C Mobile Web For Social Development (MW4D) Interest Group:
     http://www.w3.org/2008/MW4D/

W3C Mobile Web Initiative:
     http://www.w3.org/Mobile

Digital Web Forum project:
     http://www.digitalworldforum.eu/

W3C Workshop on the Role of Mobile Technologies in Fostering Social 
Development, 2-3 June 2008 in São Paulo, Brazil:
     http://www.w3.org/2008/02/MS4D_WS/

http://www.w3.org/ -- 27 May 2008 -- Today W3C invites participation in 
a new group chartered to explore the potential of mobile technology to 
help bridge the digital divide. The Mobile Web For Social Development 
(MW4D) Interest Group will study the issues that rural communities and 
underprivileged populations face in accessing information and 
communication technology. The MW4D Interest Group provides an 
multidisciplinary forum for discussing these issues, and in doing so, 
contributes to the W3C mission of making the Web available to all.

"Study after study has highlighted the positive impact of mobile 
technologies in developing countries," said Ken Banks, co-Chair of the 
MW4D Interest Group and founder of kiwanja.net. "Mobiles are opening up 
financial services to the poor, creating employment opportunities, and 
providing access to health care and valuable information services. We do 
need to solve important challenges such as lack of standards in end-user 
devices, network constraints, service cost, issues of literacy, and an 
understanding of the real information needs of rural communities. To do 
so requires an multidisciplinary approach, a step we take through the 
creation of this new group."

This step is part of a growing set of W3C initiatives related to social 
development. The launch of the group coincides with the W3C Workshop on 
the Role of Mobile Technologies in Fostering Social Development, 2-3 
June in São Paulo, Brazil. The goal of the Workshop, highlighted in a 
recent press release, is to identify the challenges of providing 
e-services on mobile phones to people in developing economies.

Mobile Technology Holds Promise to Bring Web to More People

According to the GSMA and ITU (GSMA Report 2006, 2007 ITU Report), at 
the end of 2007, more than 3 billion people had access to a mobile phone 
and 80% of the global population was covered by a GSM network. These 
figures make a strong case for using mobile phones as the platform for 
health, education, business, and government services in rural 
environments. However, there remain significant challenges to providing 
access to these communities and in leveraging local content and 
application development.

The new MW4D Interest Group will study these challenges, identify the 
most promising ways to address them, and propose a road map for 
progress. In order to succeed, the MW4D Interest Group requires 
expertise in diverse fields, and thus invites participation from people 
and organizations who are experts in mobiles technologies, Web 
technologies, usability, sustainability and entrepreneurship. W3C seeks 
participation in particular from NGOs with field experience and 
expertise, and academics from developing regions in order to capture, in 
a bottom-up approach, the needs and requirements of the targeted population.

W3C launches this new group under the auspices of the European Union's 
7th Research Framework Programme (FP7), part of the Digital World Forum 
project. This work is part of W3C's Mobile Web Initiative, which aims to 
identify and resolve challenges and issues of accessing the Web when on 
the move.

Press Contacts:
---------------
Contact Americas, Australia --
   Ian Jacobs, <ij@w3.org>, +1.718.260.9447 or +1.617.253.2613
Contact Europe, Africa and the Middle East --
   Marie-Claire Forgue, <mcf@w3.org>, +33.492.38.75.94 or +33.6.76.86.33.41
Contact Asia --
   Yasuyuki Hirakawa <chibao@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where 
Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to 
develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the 
creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term 
growth for the Web. Over 440 organizations are Members of the 
Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and 
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European 
Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) 
headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan, and has additional 
Offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org/

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Received on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 15:13:27 GMT

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