Tanzania: There is now Wi-Fi on Mount Kilimanjaro

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Tourism is vital to Tanzania’s economy, accounting for around $1.4 billion in revenue in 2021 compared to $1 billion in 2020 when it was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector’s contribution to GDP fell from 107% in 2019 to 5.3% in 2020, according to data from TanzaniaInvest.

Nape Moses Nnauye, Tanzania’s Minister of Information and Communication, announced the news at a press conference last week, saying state-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Corp. had installed the fiber-optic broadband network as part of the government’s broader efforts to improve internet connectivity through its National ICT Broadband Backbone Initiative.

According to him, high-speed internet access should make climbing the mountain safer, as travelers can now more easily get help and access navigation tools.

“Before, it was a bit dangerous for visitors and porters who had to operate without the internet,” Nnauye said, according to AFP. “All visitors will be connected… (up to) this point on the mountain,” he added, speaking from the mountainside Horombo Huts campsite.

Standing 19,300 feet above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest mountain and is visited by more than 30,000 tourists each year, according to local tourism services. The new broadband network will allow climbers access to reliable Wi-Fi up to an elevation of 12,205 feet (3,720 meters), with plans to extend coverage to Uhuru Peak, 19,291 feet ( 5,880 meters). above sea level by the end of the year.

Kilimanjaro is not the first mountain to offer broadband services. In 2013, Mount Everest in the Himalayas, on the border of Nepal and China, provided 4G mobile connectivity, and since 2017 it has provided fiber optic broadband. In 2020, Chinese telecommunications manufacturer Huawei also installed its own fiber optic cables on Mount Everest to make a 5G internet network possible for tourists.

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