When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay completed the first confirmed ascent of Mount Everest, which stands 29,035 feet above sea level on the mighty day of May 29, 1953, little did they know about the revolution that was about to beckon.
Almost 6 decades later, we stand with a long list of people who’ve conquered the mighty mountain and an even longer list of people we’ve lost during the journey, but this is not why we’re here.
The world’s highest mountain is about to get free WIFI service at the height of 17,600 feet and this might change the journey forever.
Nepal is now looking at the idea of facilitating free WIFI zones at the base camp of Mt Everest to facilitate communication and interact properly about any contingency of events.
The base camp is sitting at the height of 5,360 metres (17,600 feet), making this the highest location at which free WiFi services will be available.
But this service is not a pioneering event, some hotels and restaurants at the base camp used to offer WIFI even before, however, for a huge price. The WIFI rate was $5 (Nepali Rs 537) per hour.
Nepal’s telecom service providers have extended mobile and landline services at the base camp, subtly putting an end to the era of expensive satellite phones. But, it will still take some time before it gets fully functional. The idea to access internet and mobiles freely atop the 8,848-metre Everest remains fascinating.
“WiFi becomes more expensive as one ascends, along with services such as food and lodging. ” said someone from the Himalayanglacier, a mountaineering news portal.
You can buy credits amounting to ½ GB of the internet from Everest Link at around $8 in a place called Machermo. Once you reach the base camp, purchasing WiFi comes at a very high cost of around $5 per hour it states.
We will expand this service in other areas too, Digambar Jha, the chairman of state-run Nepal communications said.
Jha further added that the WiFi service will operate on the Okumura Model, which uses low-cost optical fibre cables for high-speed internet.
Special optical fibres resistant to extremely cold weather and icefall will be used for the service.
We have already discussed the project with the International Telecommunication Union, and they are also positive about providing such facilities, he added.
Besides easing communication, tourists and other users can send photos, videos and messages that will help boost tourism, Jha said.
The area obviously is accident prone and it’s become costlier because of the amount of tourism flooding in at this high altitude. The problems associated with mounting rescue efforts in extreme climatic conditions and something like this could facilitate a lot of distraught people.
The rescue missions that were usually hampered by the lack of proper communications can now be quickly resolved. If these optical fibres do not work at high altitude, some other technologies will be pitched.
Earlier, private telecom operator Ncell had provided limited but paid internet services in the Everest region but they did not work properly.