Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Dis is 2 cool, im so hi up!!!", Twitter and Facebook now available from 30,000 feet.

Nordic telecommunications company TeliaSonera, and its Nepalese subsidiary, Ncell, have become the first company to provide a 3G high speed connection in the Mount Everest region. This includes access from the summit. This brand spanking new service will allow access to Facebook, Twitter, and Google for mountain climbers and mountain goats alike.

Now, the summit of Everest's peak is 29,029 feet above sea level (or 8,848 metres for my fellow Canadians). To give you some perspective this is almost equal to 16 CN Towers stacked one on top of another, that's a lot of glass floors to look through.
No longer will wayward travelers be forced to carry inefficient satellite-beaming equipment just to send a message back to their families, now they can easily text, call, and even browse the internet while climbing. Besides the added communications advantage, the reduction in weight for the trip up is drastically reduced; When climbing such a long vertical distance and with very low oxygen levels near the summit, extra oxygen tanks and more blankets would be a welcome comfort.

Despite the added benefit, there have been concerns raised about how the ability to check your Twitter and Facebook page might influence the process of climbing the mountain. The obvious immediate benefit is the ability to upload photos of your climb, and especially the momentous moment that you reach the summit, onto your respective pages for all your friends to see. But the other more obvious problem is that it'll turn a momentous and proud moment into the mountain climbing equivalent of this:

That's right, texting distracts you from tasks that require concentration, like driving, or...oh, I don't know: mountain climbing!? Hopefully mountaineers will be smarter than your average driver and restrict texting and relationship status updating until they're resting or confined to some tent in base camp. Although I'm sure the first time someone plays Farmville from Mount Everest it'll ruin the entire experience for everyone. Mountain climbing that is, no one could possibly make Farmville more annoying than it already is.

You can see the original press release and multimedia at the TeliaSonera website here:

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