A free Wi-Fi zone is to be set up at the Everest base camp to facilitate communications at the world’s highest mountains in addition to providing support during rescue operations and emergencies. The base camp, located at a height of 5,360m is expected have the services installed to send out tweets, live streams and posts.
DigambarJha, chairman of Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) said in February 2017 that regular plans were underway to establish free Wi-Fi zones along the trails of Lukla-Everest and Annapurna Base Camp treks.Previously, Nepal Telecom’s service providers extended mobile and landline services to the base camp, eliminating the need to rely on expensive satellite communication. A mobile network service at the top of Everest (8,848m) is still a long way off the road.
Annapurna and Everest draws thousands of trekkers worldwide every year. Jha further added that the services would use the Okumura Model, which operates on low-cost optical fibre cables to provide high-speed internet. Due to the extreme cold weather conditions in both the regions, special optical fibres with thermal resistance need to be used.
Mountaineering rescue operations have been a problematic section of operation during times of crisis, as seen in the past years, and during the national crisis due to the earthquake. The communications setup is also expected to ease these operations.
Hotels and restaurants at the EBC have been offering Wi-Fi connections at a rate of up to USD $5 per hour for the facility.