Tanzania has installed high-speed internet service on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, allowing anyone with a smartphone to Tweet, Instagram or WhatsApp that they have climbed Africa’s highest mountain.
The state-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation installed a broadband network at an altitude of 3,720 meters on Tuesday, with Information Minister Nape Nnauye calling the event historic.
“Previously, it was a bit dangerous for visitors and porters who had to operate without internet,” Nnauye said at the launch of the service, surrounded by government officials and tourists.
“All visitors are connected … up to this point in the mountain,” he said at Horombo Hut, one of the camps en route to the peak.
He said the 5,895-meter peak will have internet connectivity by the end of the year.
Last year, the Tanzanian government announced plans to build a cable car on the south side of Kilimanjaro, causing an uproar among climbers, expedition companies and environmentalists.
Mount Kilimanjaro is an important source of tourism revenue for Tanzania and neighboring Kenya, with around 35,000 people attempting to climb it each year.
Immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the mountain is part of a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Technology is increasingly permeating the world of climbing, and Everest climbers have easy access to Wi-Fi, generators and smartphones to share photos or send an SOS in case of an accident. I can do it.
By contrast, when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the top of the world’s tallest mountain on May 29, 1953, the news didn’t reach the outside world until June 2, just in time for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It didn’t arrive.