Luandro shares his diary of the work he’s leading with the Tenetehara people in the Arariboia territory. Reality isn’t easy. Short after installed, the community network at Barreirinha village faced problems that weren’t easily solved. Learn how this challenge was overcome and what one can learn from it.
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Just one month after the installation of the community network in Barreirinha village, everything fell apart. Initially, we believed that the problem was simply a lack of payment. However, even after payment, the internet in the village remained non-functional. Both Jonas and Jó attempted to investigate the issue using the Ubiquiti UniFi app, but they couldn’t determine the cause. They inspected antennas and checked cables at the house in the city of Arame, where the internet was coming from, with no luck. Frustration grew as months went by, knowing that they had only enjoyed a single month of reliable internet service, and kept paying for it.
Ana Rosa, director of Meli, paid a visit to the territory, and they used the opportunity to further investigate. With my remote assistance, we tirelessly explored all possible solutions, both in the village and the city, to understand why the internet was failing to reach Barreirinha. We discovered that the problem did not lie with the service provider, as the internet functioned perfectly fine at the city location. However, we failed pinpointing the exact cause of the issue. We even attempted to contact a local technician for assistance, but we were unsuccessful in securing their support.
It wasn’t until my visit for the third mapping workshop visit to Zutiwa village that I finally identified the problem. I discovered that the Ubiquiti Litebeam device that was setup at the village was unresponsive—completely non-functional. To rectify the situation, I had to undertake the challenging process of formatting the device’s firmware using the original Ubiquiti firmware, which required a computer running a TFTP server, thus way beyond the capability of community members. However, this formatting proved successful, and the network was restored to full functionality.
With the network now operational, we seized the opportunity to bring the community together once again. We provided training on utilizing the Pirania system for internet control and implemented a DNS-level block on pornography (using something like CleanBrowsing or OpenDNS Family Shield), ensuring that such content could not be accessed across the entire network.
For the past five months, the network has remained flawless, and the entire community of Barreirinha village has been able to enjoy the benefits of a reliable broadband internet connection. They now share the responsibility of the monthly service provider fee, fostering a sense of communal ownership and sustainability.
This is a part of a series of reports, you can read the first one here and the next one here.