The Fantsuam Foundation Community Wireless Network

Kafanchan, located 100 km Northeast of Abuja, is a poorly connected area in terms of fix telephony and Internet connectivity. Today, no fix telephony is available and GSM just arrived in 2005. Fantsuam Foundation is the only Internet Service Provider.

The main objective of this project is to improve access to communications in Kafanchan by implementing a community wireless network. The network will provide Intranet and Internet access to a set of identified local partners. The community network will mainly be formed by community-based organizations such as educational institutions, faith-based institutions and health services.

The VSAT equipment on the premises of Fantsuam Foundation.

The objective will be achieved by capacity building within Fantsuam Foundation in designing, implementing and maintaining community wireless networks. Theoretical and practical training will be conducted by IT +46 on site in Kafanchan. After the training phase and the joint deployment of a set of wireless outdoors links; Fantsuam staff will alone undertake the implementation of the remaining links of the network by replicating the process learnt during the training.

As a part of the project, Fantsuam Foundation will work on developing a sustainable social and cost-effective business model for the wireless network. The model will not be based on simply re-selling the bandwidth provided by satellite communication but on the creation of revenue-bringing activities. For example, such add-on services could include local mail accounts, web space with content management systems and the implementation of a low cost voice service in the local network (VoIP).

In order to prepare for a future expansion of this project, four viability studies will be carried out to address the following topics:

(1) Establishment of a solar power system to run the backbone infrastructure
(2) Deployment of two sun-powered repeaters for the future expansion of the core network
(3) Upgrading of the VSAT connection
(4) Socio-economical impact of the wireless network and its services on the local community.

In terms of wireless infrastructure, this initial proposal budgets the implementation of a central tower at Fantsuam Foundation premises and the deployment of a wide wireless outdoor network consisting of 11 backhaul links connecting 13 partners.

The project will be lead by Fantsuam Foundation. Four technical staff from Fantsuam Foundation will undertake appropriate training and later lead the implementation of the network.