http://www.w3.org/ -- 20 April 2005 -- In keeping with its international mission to lead the Web to its full potential, W3C today announced a new fee structure designed to reduce the barrier of entry for organizations in developing countries. The goal is to make it easier for small companies and not-for-profit organizations to become W3C Members and become engaged in the development of foundation technologies for the World Wide Web. For small companies and not-for-profit organizations in developing countries, the resulting fees are reduced to between 15 and 60% of former values.
"W3C is all about building Web technologies that can be of service to the world. This new fee structure for organizations from the developing world affirms the value W3C places on their participation in, contribution to and use of the standards and guidelines we are developing to drive the future of the World Wide Web," declared Dr. Steve Bratt, W3C's Chief Operating Officer.
Technologies such as the Web proliferate to the extent that they are easily available - either because of distribution methods, licensing constraints, hardware and software requirements, or ease of use. Further, standardized technologies built in a flexible manner, with attention to internationalization needs (languages and/or infrastructure) can have dramatic impact on life, education and commerce in a given region.
However, one of the greatest obstacles for participation in large consortia is the cost of entry. What appears to be a reasonable membership fee in Western Europe, Japan, or North America is prohibitive in other parts of the world. While W3C does embrace participation from individuals as Invited Experts, the Consortium realized that more was necessary to engage organizations around the globe.
This initiative, focused on regions of the world beginning to discover Web technologies, is only the most recent in W3C's international commitments. Through its technical Internationalization Activity, volunteer-based translation program, its fourteen Offices around the globe, as well as its Patent Policy, W3C can better meet the needs and requirements of diverse populations, and can help those regions develop sound, standards-based Web infrastructure.
Building on its broadly recognized work for the development of a global infrastructure, W3C is actively soliciting participation from organizations in the developing world, with help from its own Members, government and NGOs, philanthropic organizations, and its extensive global Offices network, which is also expanding into the developing world. For more information on joining W3C, please consult the "Join W3C" documentation.
The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium 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. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 350 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org