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High-speed internet has arrived at Mount Kilimanjaro, which means climbers can now use their phones to help navigate and post on social media as they ascend Africa’s tallest mountain.
Tanzania’s state-owned Telecom installed the broadband network last week at an altitude of 12,200 feet and aims to bring connectivity to the top of the 19,300-foot mountain by the end of the year.
“Today… I am raising high-speed (broadband) Internet connections on the surface of Africa,” Naby Noyi, Minister of Information, Communications and Information Technology, Tweet on Tuesday. “Tourists can now communicate around the world from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.”
The new coverage aims to support tourism as well as safety.
Navnawi said navigating the mountain without internet was “a bit dangerous” for visitors and porters. France Press agency. that Estimated around 35,000 people They attempt to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro every year, although about a third are forced to turn back due to altitude sickness and other issues.
As an added bonus, climbers can now share selfies from the cliff, and their friends and acquaintances can follow their trek in real time (in case you didn’t think your FOMO was already bad enough).
Kilimanjaro is not the first – or highest – mountain to serve the adventurer. Nepal Mount Everest It has 4G mobile connectivity since 2013 and fiber-optic broadband since 2017.
Critics say the needs of locals are being overlooked
The installation of the Internet has also proven to be a source of controversy, with critics accusing the Tanzanian government of prioritizing tourists over the needs of local residents.
Less than 45% of Tanzania’s area (which accounts for 83% of the population) was covered by any form of cellular reception as of 2020, according to Center for Global Development.
Joseph Knoll, a researcher at the University of Oslo, Norway NBC News That telecommunications coverage in Tanzania is managed almost entirely by international private companies, which buy coverage licenses from the government.
He said operators have refused to extend 3G and 4G access to rural areas near the base of Kilimanjaro because not enough people have the hardware to make it easier to use the Internet – adding that they may be more inclined to buy it if there is Internet coverage.
We intend to the Minister of Information Technology, Share photos on Twitter When he described them as “tourists… enjoying the service.”
The focus on tourism is consistent with the role it plays in Tanzania’s economy. As of 2019, according to world bankTourism has been the largest source of foreign exchange, the second largest contributor to GDP and the third largest contributor to employment in the country.
With tourists also in mind, the Tanzanian government has agreed to build a cable car in Kilimanjaro – an idea provoked a widespread backlash Environmental advocates and climbers. The idea has been slow to progress since then.
Broadband is part of a larger infrastructure initiative
Tanzanian authorities are working to expand high-speed broadband across the country through an initiative called National ICT broadbandwhich is operated by the Tanzania Telecommunications Company on behalf of the government.
Its goals include increasing ICT for the “fair and sustainable social, economic and cultural development of Tanzania,” as well as providing access to international submarine fiber-optic cables through Dar es Salaam to neighboring landlocked countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Party. Republic of the Congo.
The project also happens Financial support from China (which invested more than $4 billion in African infrastructure projects in 2020 alone). Chen Minjian, China’s ambassador to Tanzania, celebrated the Internet’s announcement in a Tweet of her own.
“Hongera sana!” It was written in Swahili to congratulate. “I hope to visit Roof of Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro one day in person.”
Until that day comes, you – like many others – may have to settle for a livestream for someone else’s climb.
“Amateur organizer. Wannabe beer evangelist. General web fan. Certified internet ninja. Avid reader.”