Tanzania installs Internet on Mount Kilimanjaro for Insta-worthy ascents

The broadband network was installed at an altitude of 3,720m

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters


Published: Thu 18 Aug 2022, 7:36 AM

Tanzania has installed high-speed internet services on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, allowing anyone with a smartphone to tweet, Instagram, or WhatsApp their ascent up Africa's highest mountain.

State-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation set up the broadband network on Tuesday, at an altitude of 3,720m, with Information Minister Nape Nnauye calling the event historic.

"Previously, it was a bit dangerous for visitors and porters who had to operate without [the] Internet," Nnauye said at the launch of the service, flanked by government officials and tourists.

"All visitors will get connected ... [up to] this point of the mountain," he said, at the Horombo Huts, one of the camps en route to the peak.

According to Nnauye, the summit of the 5,895-metre mountain would have Internet connectivity by the end of the year.

Last year, the Tanzanian government had announced plans to build a cable car on the southern side of Kilimanjaro, triggering uproar among climbers, expedition companies and environmentalists.

Mount Kilimanjaro is an important source of tourism revenue in Tanzania and neighbouring Kenya, with around 35,000 people attempting to summit it each year.

Immortalised in Ernest Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro", the mountain is part of a national park, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Technology has increasingly infiltrated the world of mountaineering, with climbers on Mount Everest enjoying easy access to Wi-Fi, power generators, and smartphones that make it possible to share photos, and make SOS calls in the event of an accident.

In contrast, when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of one of the world's tallest mountains on May 29, 1953, the news didn't reach the outside world until June 2, just in time for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.


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