- The connection at 3,720 metres above sea level and others to follow are set to increase visibility of the “Roof of Africa’ to the world
Arusha. It was all joy yesterday when the near freezing Horombo hut on Mt Kilimanjaro got Internet access.
The connection at 3,720 metres above sea level and others to follow are set to increase visibility of the “Roof of Africa’ to the world.
“It will also enhance the safety of mountain climbers and porters,” said the minister for Information, Communications and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye. He said when he launched the system that the long awaited connection was a milestone for tourism promotion on the ice-capped mountain.
By October this year, the Internet services will be extended to the 5,895 metre high Kibo Peak, Mt Kilimanjaro’s highest point.
The Tanzania Telecommunications Limited (TTCL) is undertaking the multi-million shilling project, which will be extended to other major tourist sites.
According to the minister, some Sh146 million had been spent to take the Internet services to the Horombo hut alone.
Mt Kilimanjaro is one of the leading tourist destinations in Tanzania, attracting mountain climbers from abroad and within the country. TTCL director general Peter Ulanga said Internet coverage will be extended to other high altitude huts on the mountain. “This is also part of the drive to digital economy. In the long run other remote tourism sites will have such access,” he said.
The site targeted to be installed with Internet service in the near future is the Mkomazi National Park in Kilimanjaro Region.
“Mkomazi is next in improving connectivity,” he said at Horombo, the wind swept site about 2,000 metres below the freezing summit. The launch took place as the tourists surfed their mobile phones and other communication gadgets, a sign that the Internet had indeed arrived.
Others, with heavy luggage on their backs, were on their way to the summit or on the descent, according to a live broadcast from TBC 1. Mr Nnauye said Internet connectivity atop Africa’s highest mountain will not only increase visibility of the mountain globally and attract more visitors.
“It will generate money for users of the service when there. The government was losing revenue in the absence of this service,” he said. He urged the state-run TTCL not to stop there but to ensure that the national parks not connected are equipped with the system.
The minister said the government was striving to ensure that the National Optic Fibre Network was under the domain of TTCL.
Earlier, the Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Nurdin Babu said the tourist arrivals into the area have picked up lately.
“We are now getting more tourists from abroad. Internet access will enable them to make a call right from the freezing point,” he said.