Many organizations focus on distributing computers or extending fixed and mobile Internet capabilities around the world. The World Wide Web enhances the value of computers and the Internet by making it easy to create, link and find information anywhere in the world. However, only 25% of the world’s population uses the Web, despite the fact that more than 70% (and growing) have access to mobile or fixed communications.
The following challenges contribute to this discrepancy and impede the Web from reaching its full potential:
- Content Gap. Creation of locally-relevant content on the Web is impeded in many places, not by lack of the Internet, but by a lack of knowledge. Life-critical information and services are in limited supply, especially for those who need help the most. (see the Web Foundation’s response)
- Technology Gap. More than one billion people who read poorly, read only languages not well-supported on the Web, or have disabilities are inhibited from creating and consuming Web content because of the current state of technology and practice. In addition, the introduction of incompatible and proprietary technologies, uninformed policies, censorship and other challenges threaten the vision of the Web as a single, universal medium for the sharing of information for all people. (see the Web Foundation’s response)
- Research Gap. The Web is not just technology, but “humanity connected by technology”. Even experts do not fully comprehend the complexity and potential of this evolving system of people, information and links. This is a risk to the creative, yet responsible, evolution of the Web. (see the Web Foundation’s response)
Until now, there has been no coordinated effort to address these significant challenges and to promote the Web as an agent of human empowerment. To fill this void, the World Wide Web Foundation was launched by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, and others who have the knowledge and passion to realize the potential of the Web as an empowering medium.