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Collaboration, Education, Livelihoods and Development in a Changing World

Zittnet - Rural Connectivity at Fantsuam

Dishes at FantsuamDadamac could not have come into being without the Internet connectivity provided by Zittnet. Zittnet ("Appropriate power and ICTs for the developing world") is a social business that came into being under the wing of Dadamac's sister organisation Fantsuam Foundaton.

mastmast

Locally John Dada is deeply connected with Zittnet. In 2009 the Dadamac Community online was able to help Zittnet gather support when it submitted an idea to "Ideas For Africa" gaining an award for $3,000 as a result.

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Main steps in this story of rural connectivity

  • Fantsuam Foundation (FF) started to use computers
  • in response to demand FF started to train other people to use computers
  • People wanted their own computers so FF started to supply refurbished computers.
  • Refurbished computers break down - so FF started to train people to fix them
  • FF became as CISCO academy - which involved having a VSAT for Internet connectivity
  • Zittnet was set up to share the Internet connectivity over a wider area.
  • This included the construction of a mast
  • Its initial service supplied various locations, including a college, a clinic, a hotel and a couple of cyber cafes.

Dramatic Challenges

In 2009 the Zittnet mast was struck by lightening. Several months after the service had been resumed it suffered even more dramatic storm damage (more details and photo). On both occassions Zittnet was let down by its insurers. The storm damage caused severe structural damage, an interruption to its service, and hardship to its clients and the people they serve.

Against the odds ZittNet managed to get a short term loan to repair the damage and was able to continue the service. Before the storm damage Zittnet was  on target to repay all its  loans by the end of the year.

Extending services

Fantsuam Foundation with Zittnet are leading the field in rural connectivity in West Africa. They are trying to extend their services whenever the opportunity arises.

In 2009 Fantsuam Foundation was selected to be a site for one of Nigeria's Community Communication Centres (CCCs). FF and Zittnet hoped that the funding would be sufficient to set up the CCC on the Attachab Eco-Village site, as that area is not yet served by the Internet, but in the event there was not sufficient funding allocated for all that would be needed at a completely new new site. The CCC has therefore been built at FF's main site where it can use the existing Zittnet services. It has been inspected and highly commended by the funding agency.

Zittnet is in discussion with NITEL (provider of telephone services) regarding shared use of masts and other win-win collaborative arrangements.