The only drawback—other than the likelihood of unnecessary death—that traditionally comes with climbing to the top of one of our planet’s tallest mountains is that you don’t unlock any cool new Call of Duty gun attachments or fun avatar costumes for accomplishing such an enormous task. Thankfully, the government of Tanzania is taking steps to deal with this shortcoming by building a wireless broadband network that runs to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
As NPR reports, the Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation finished installing the network “last week at an altitude of 12,200 feet” last week and currently “aims to bring connectivity to the summit of the 19,300-foot mountain by the end of the year.” (The NPR article also says that Everest beat Kilimanjaro to the punch, getting 4G access in 2013 and fiber optic broadband in 2017.)
The installation has been promoted as a way to boost safety by helping climbers navigate the mountain, but it’s also been advertised as a means to support tourism through selfies and on-site videos. Being able to take part in Thursday Overwatch night with your pals, even while actively climbing a mountain, is so obvious a benefit that it doesn’t need to be listed.
While turning a mountain into a giant wi-fi hotspot is a massive accomplishment, NPR points out that the installation has been met with criticism since “less than 45% of the area of Tanzania (accounting for 83% of the population) was covered by any form of cell reception as of 2020.”
In light of this, moves to expand communications for citizens might seem more pressing than giving tourists an easy way to revisit select scenes from Cliffhanger to brush up on their technique or prepare for the worst with a base camp viewing of Alive.
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