A triple whammy has hit our friends in the Zittnet team, and the people they serve around Fantsuam. ZittNet provides Nigeria's first rural community wireless network service – or at least it did, until 3.15 on April 21st when disaster struck. Since then its clients have been without any Internet service. The clients include three cyber cafes, a hotel, a college and a clinic as well as private customers – and there is no alternative provider.
The three factors which left ZittNet struggling were:
● A cheating contractor who built their majestic communication mast but skimped on the foundations and used sub-standard steel.
● A wild storm that bent the steel, uprooted part of the foundations, and brought the mast crashing down on the adjacent buildings.
● The insurance company which is giving no help at all as ZittNet struggles to rebuild the mast, replace the neighbour's roof, restore their own damaged buildings, and pay compensation to their clients for interrupted service.
Many hopes have come crashing down with that mast. This is is the year ZittNet, a social business, was expecting to finish paying off its business loan. Instead it is now struggling to raise new money – and loans are almost impossible to come by at present. The new businesses and services that depend on ZittNet are now under threat, with knock on effects to the users who are currently benefitting - so the social consequences are considerable.
Update : We have received pictures from Bidi Bala of the early reconstruction work More Details.
Zittnet managed to get a short term loan to rebuild the mast and restore the service to its clients.