Is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on your bucket list? Now you’ll be able to stream your ascent of Africa‘s tallest mountain thanks to the addition of broadband internet.
According to NPR, the Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation installed the high-speed network last week.
On Tuesday, the country’s minister for information, communication, and information technology, Nape Nnauye, tweeted, “Today … I am hoisting high-speed INTERNET COMMUNICATIONS (BROADBAND) on the ROOF OF AFRICA. Tourists can now communicate worldwide from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.”
How it works:
Providing internet access on the mountain does not just benefit tourism; it also supports safety. As Nnauye mentions, it was previously somewhat dangerous to climb the mountain without internet. Around 35,000 attempt the climb Kilimanjaro yearly. However, only two-thirds make it. The other third end up having to stop because of issues like altitude sickness.
While most see the internet installation as a positive thing for these and other reasons, some have criticized the government of neglecting the needs of its own people while prioritizing the needs of foreign tourists.
According to the Center for Global Development, around 83% of Tanzanians reside in areas without cell phone coverage.
However, it is important to note that as of 2019, the World Bank credits tourism as the third-largest contributor to employment in the country, the second largest contributor to its GDP, and its top earner of foreign exchange.
Also with tourism in mind, last year, the government of Tanzania gave the green light for the construction of a cable car on the mountain. A cable car would enable people who typically would not be able to ascend the mountain, such as the elderly and those with mobility issues, to do so.
But, due to the great deal of backlash the idea has garnered from climbers, tour operators, and environmentalists, progress on the project has been slow.
Tanzania is also currently working to expand broadband connectivity throughout the nation through the National ICT Broadband Backbone initiative.