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Nepal will create free WiFi zonesat the base camp of Mount Everest to facilitate communications from the world’shighest mountain and to aid rescue efforts in the event of any contingencies. The base camp is located at the height of 5,360 metres (17,600feet), making this the highest location at which free WiFi services will beavailable Digambar Jha, chairman ofstate-run Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), said in Kathmandu onWednesday the regulator plans to set up free WiFi zones along the trials ofLukla-Everest Base Camp area and Annapurna Base Camp. “We will expand thisservice in other areas too,” he said. Annapurna is also a popular attraction that draws hundreds ofthousands of trekkers every year. Jha said the WiFi service will operate on the “Okumura Model”,which uses low-cost optical fibre cables for high-speed internet. Specialoptical fibres resistant to extremely cold weather and icefall will be used forthe service. “We have already discussed the project with the InternationalTelecommunication Union, and they are also positive about providing suchfacilities,” he added. Besides easing communication, tourists and other users can sendphotos, videos and messages that will help boost tourism, Jha said. Accidents in the Everest region have become costly affairs forthe government and tourism entrepreneurs because of the high altitude andproblems associated with mounting rescue efforts in extreme climaticconditions. Such rescue missions are also hampered by the lack of propercommunications.If optical fibres do notwork at high altitudes, other technologies such as micro-wave will be used toprovide the WiFi service, officials said.
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