Welcome to the future… Mount Kilimanjaro now has high-speed internet. You can tweet or post to TikTok, Instagram, or any other social media platform as you ascend to the Roof of Africa.
The state-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation set up the broadband network. It went live on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at an altitude of 12,200 feet.
Climbers on Kilimanjaro will be able to stay in touch with the outside world with the new internet service.
The Tanzanian information minister, Nape Nnauye, called the event historic. He continued by saying this move will also improve the safety of porters and visitors
“Previously, it was a bit dangerous for visitors and porters who had to operate without internet,” he 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,” Nnauye said at Horombo huts, one of the camps en route to the peak.
By the end of the year, the summit at 19,341 feet will have internet connectivity.
The move is the latest effort to increase connectivity in the world’s wildest places. A Chinese phone mast made the first mobile phone call from Everest’s summit in 2007.
On 29 May 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of the world’s tallest mountain. They were unable to inform the outside world of their accomplishment until 2 June, just in time for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
The advancements in communications devices have further enabled climbers, ocean sailors, and polar explorers to access the most up-to-date weather forecasts and call for rescue in an emergency.
As mobile phone networks have expanded to even more remote places, small pocket-size satellite communications devices such as Garmin’s inReach Mini – able to track, position, and send and receive text messages – have made it possible for travelers to stay connected even in polar regions.
However, some UK mountain rescue teams have noted that over-reliance on fallible technology, such as mobile phone navigation software, has led to some climbers and walkers getting into trouble. Mobile phones should never be these source of navigation. The British Mountaineering Council repeatedly caution against this.
The latest moves on Kilimanjaro follow the Tanzanian government’s announcement of plans to build a cable car on the southern side of the mountain. The idea was dropped after it sparked global outrage among climbers, expedition companies, and environmentalists.
Kilimanjaro is an important source of tourism revenue in Tanzania and neighboring Kenya, with about 35,000 people attempting to reach the peak each year. The use of internet on Kilimanjaro was inevitable. We knew it would happen eventually and it does make it safer to climb Kilimanjaro.