Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox Internet browser, in partnership with GSMA, an association of mobile operators, has published a report on mobile connectivity in developing nations.
The study highlights the fact that many people in developing nations like India and Kenya access the Internet solely through their mobile devices. It suggests that by the end of 2020, around 3 billion people will access the Internet through mobile devices in the developing world.
Despite the fact that so many people will be accessing the Internet, there is a lack of content tailored to many people in the developing world, meaning web access remains largely irrelevant. This leads to lost opportunities and a mobile ecosystem that isn't as useful for these people.
To address this problem, Mozilla and GSMA are studying three key aspects of what needs to be looked at. The first is the level of digital literacy that is required for mobile-first users. The second is the toolset needed to create content in the developing world. Last but not least is whether or not the right training and toolsets can impact the digital ecosystem in the developing world.
During the study, Mozilla drew from a number of different regions for data, including regions throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas. Mozilla has also been testing its app for Android, Webmaker, which is designed to spur local content creation.
The conclusion that Mozilla came to was that higher skill levels and more local content would be of great benefit to a range of people in developing nations. "The creation and distribution of digital content remains deeply uneven," the report notes. "While nearly half the world's population is online – 43% – entire languages, cultures and regions are absent or underrepresented."
Not only that, but Mozilla found that the desire to share content is a big motivator for content creation, and that content creators don't want to create the same content as everyone else. What this means is that the more people who have access to content creation tools, the larger the range of content that's available is likely to become.
The entire study, "Mobile for Development Impact: Approaches to local content creation: Realising the smartphone opportunity," can be found here.