Mount Everest gets internet access, telecom group says

29 Oct 2010

Climbers of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, can now make video calls and surf the web from its summit, a telecom group in Nepal has claimed.

Swedish phone giant subsidiary Ncell has said it has set up a high-speed 3G phone base station at the altitude of 5,200 metres (17,000 feet) near Gorakshep village in the Everest region.

“Today we made the (world’s) highest video call from Mount Everest base camp successfully,” Ncell Nepal chief Pasi Koistinen told reporters in Kathmandu. “The coverage of the network will reach up to the peak of the Everest.”

Climbers who reached the peak of Mount Everest, since 2007, could only use on the Chinese side of the mountain costly and erratic satellite telephone coverage and a voice-only network from China Mobile.

Eight base stations, half of which will run on solar power, have been installed in the Everest region, after engineers worked though winds and freezing temperatures to install the infrastructure.

Mountaineers have hailed the launch as ambitious and helpful, not only when it comes to keeping in touch with loved ones and trek organisers, but also if they ever need to seek help.

Tina Costanza