Yesterday's online UK/Nigeria meeting saw several exciting developments. First and foremost was the news that Fantsuam has reached agreement to broadcast its radio signal through the communication towers of Nigerian Telecoms company NITEL.
Because these towers are much bigger and higher than those currently used, Fantsuam will now be able to serve a far wider area! In fact ,Fantsuam will be able to mount it's equipment on masts in Kafanchan and Zonkwa which will enable them to reach distances of up to 70kms.
Also as a result of the meeting between these organisations, the telecoms company has asked Zittnet to become its wholesaler for bandwidth. Which sounds very impressive and I have yet to fully understand the implications of this :-)
Initially, the phone market will operate only within Kafanchan. However, the long-term goal is for Fantsuam Foundation to eventually serve Southern Kaduna state.
NITEL have already laid a fibre optic cable from Portugal down the West African coast and will provide the cables so that calls can be made locally within Kafanchan. As landlines are still the most effective way to provide a reliable, cheap telephone service for the local community, we are all very pleased to hear of this development. As one of our Nigerian team remarked: "It looks like our dream of providing telephone services to the population here is getting closer."
As if that wasn't enough for a productive meeting, we also covered the plans for a centre of innovation for E-Learning. And we were grateful to discover that the three Nigerian children to whom John Dada attended last week were now safe. As we feared, they had been accused of witchcraft - an all-too common occurrence in that region.
A further discussion took place over how to make the most of the current visit to Fantsuam by Marcus Simmons,the Team's technology transfer guru. I know that we in the UK are eagerly awaiting additional photos and videos when we have a debriefing meeting with Marcus on his return. We plan to make these available on the website.
All in all, another hour well spent. I'm looking forward to next week's meeting already. One thing I have learned is that our online sessions are dynamic and inspirational. I take no credit whatsoever for this...it is down to the grassroots work of John and his team, and of course Pam. I'm just the lucky person who writes about it!