Broadband Installed on Kilimanjaro

© Dan Bailey

Tanzania's fibre optic cable network has been extended to a high camp on Kilimanjaro's popular Marangu Route, allowing trekkers to post selfies live from the mountain. Now that high speed broadband has been successfully installed at the Horombo Huts at an altitude of 3720m, the intention in the coming months is to take it right up to the 5895m summit, the highest point in Africa.

Tourists can now access the cloud from Horombo Huts  © Dan Bailey
Tourists can now access the cloud from Horombo Huts
© Dan Bailey

For those who go to the hills to escape the modern world this may come as bad news, but the development has been presented as a boon both to the country's tourism industry and to safety on Kilimanjaro, where previously 3G coverage was patchy and intermittent, and only satellite phones worked reliably.

"Previously, it was a bit dangerous for visitors and porters who had to operate without internet," said information minister Nape Nnauye, launching the service on Tuesday. 

The cable, currently being laid towards Kibo Hut at 4720m, is intended to allow reliable communication from Marangu Gate at the start of the busy trail, all the way to the top.

Perhaps you can live stream from the mountain, but you've still got to use old fashioned leg power to get up it  © Dan Bailey
Perhaps you can live stream from the mountain, but you've still got to use old fashioned leg power to get up it
© Dan Bailey

While Tanzania Telecommunications Company can install broadband on the highest mountain on a continent, some of us in the UK are still waiting for BT to get it to our houses.

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18 Aug

The UK is really lagging behind in mountaintop connectivity.

18 Aug

(checks date....)

18 Aug

Another reason to avoid this, and many other of the 7 summits. Ergh.

At least there's No Bandwidth on Mount Kenya..

19 Aug

I find this somewhat hilarious in a way. Imagine the policy meeting.

Policy maker: 'Let's install broadband wireless on Kilimanjaro basecamp!'

Porter's and medical worker's representatives: 'Oh good idea, that would make organizing medical assistance easier!'

Policy maker: 'Er, no silly... it's for the trekkers to make selfies and directly post them to the 'gram and Tiktok, instead of in a week!'

On a more serious note. I find the ever-increasing connectivity in the mountains to be a blessing and a curse. I am 36 so I grew up connected to the internet from a young age (I am 'born digital', to speak with Galfrey and Passer) but I find myself putting down my phone more and more when I'm at altitude or in nature in general. I don't need that constant stream of short-term dopamine gratification, especially when I'm in my happy place.

But then again, I do find being able to access important information (weather forecast, objective danger situations...) pretty much constantly pretty neat. It's a double-edged sword.

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