In 2017, Mozilla and the National Science Foundation asked two questions: How can we reconnect people to the Internet and other communications networks quickly and easily when disaster takes out access? And how can we permanently connect currently unconnected communities in an affordable and scalable way?
To encourage developers to get serious about finding answers, they offered US $2 million in prize money in what they tagged the Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society challenge.
This week, the organizations awarded $1.6 million in prizes. These came on top of $400,000 that went out earlier this year to help 20 finalists get from design to working prototype.
Claiming top honors and $400,000 each were HERMES, from Rhizomatica in Philadelphia, and the Southern Connected Communities Network (SCCN) from the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tenn.