Everest summit now wired with 3G

Everest summit.

The summit of Mount Everest now sports a 3G signal, enabling climbers to access the internet and make video calls from the top.

From the AFP:

Ncell, a subsidiary of Swedish phone giant TeliaSonera, says it has set up a high-speed third-generation (3G) phone base station at an 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 on Thursday.

“The coverage of the network will reach up to the peak of the Everest,” he added.
Climbers who reached Everest’s 8,848-metre peak previously depended on expensive and erratic satellite phone coverage and a voice-only network set up by China Mobile in 2007 on the Chinese side of the mountain.

The installation will also help tens of thousands of tourists and trekkers who visit the Everest region every year.

“This is a great milestone for mobile communications as the 3G high speed internet will bring faster, more affordable telecommunication services from the world?s tallest mountain,” said Lars Nyberg, chief executive of TeliaSonera, which owns 80 percent of Ncell.
The 3G services will be fast enough to make video calls and use the Internet, said the company, which also claims the world’s lowest 3G base at 1,400 metres (4,595 feet) below sea level in a mine in Europe.

FCC updates broadband definitions

390895 02: Insulated fiber-optic cable from the Fiberoptic Supply Company is on display June 20, 2001 in Denver, CO. (Photo by Michael Smith/Getty Images)

The term “broadband” doesn’t seem like it needs too much definition – anything over dial-up, right? Not exactly. The FCC’s definition of broadband is a shifting target, mostly because what was once enough to handle all of an average user’s needs can no longer keep up.

All of this is to say that the FCC has updated its definition of “broadband” to mean 4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up. Know what it used to be? Try 200 Kbps down. Old numbers show that nearly ten percent of the population does not have access to broadband. I would not be surprised to see those numbers skyrocket with the new definitions.

In fact, I’d guess a lot of consumers don’t meet both requirements. I’m fairly certain most Time Warner Cable packages stay in the Kbps range with regard to upload speeds, even at the premium levels. I would love to see that change.