Mercy from Fantsuam Foundation in Nigeria describes the challenges of internet access in Nigeria.
A regular Dadamac meeting
The Dadamac meeting is scheduled for 9am (GMT) every Tuesday with Pamela and Frances in the UK and the Fantsuam team in Kafanchan, via Skype. A recent meeting is an example of what it takes to stay connected across the digital divide.
- The power pack on John’s laptop packed up suddenly and the ZittNet team could not fix it, not even by cannibalizing old or disused power packs. They suspected it was caused by the erratic voltage fluctuation.
- Fantsuam’s 5-Year free internet licence from the Nigerian Government came to an end in December. Since September, 2013, Fantsuam has been working in a consortium of tertiary institutions in the Kafanchan area to negotiate access with the cable company that laid the optic fibre in Kafanchan. The cost of this access has been a dampening factor and so the issue of internet access has remained unresolved up till the expiration of the Government support in December 2013.
- The staff in Fantsuam have resorted to using modems provided by the local Telcos. These modems do not provide reliable access and are extremely slow, but that is what is available for Fantsuam for now. So today, John gave me his Samsung Galaxy smartphone while he used Comfort’s laptop with a modem for connection. The smartphone was more efficient, so often times, John was reading the Skype posts over my shoulder while he kept muttering away his frustration under his breath!
- After 30 minutes of feverishly trying to connect on Skype, the smartphone connected, while John used the occasional modem connectivity. The smartphone connectivity is prepaid, so due to the high cost of having a full hour session, the meeting lasted about 40 minutes. And it was a very useful session of catching up on the UK and Nigerian side.
Fantsuam - an example of the challenges of rural connectivity everywhere.
The issue of laptop power packs, grid/solar/diesel generator power and internet access all featured in the meeting of DadaMac today. So when organizations, institutions and individuals are looking for proof of concept of what it takes to get connectivity to the un-served and under-served rural communities of Nigeria, and eleswhere, they need look no further than Fantsuam Foundation.