SEOUL, South Korea, Nov. 4, 2019 — KT Corporation opened the world’s first ICT-assisted mountain rescue center on the Nepal side of the Himalayas on October 31, bolstering emergency communication with climbers.
The South Korean telecom giant’s mountain rescue center is equipped with its up-to-date information and communications technologies. The base is located at the Machhapuchhre Base Camp, some 3,700 meters above sea level and midway up Mt. Annapurna, which stands 8,091 meters high.
The opening ceremony was attended by Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung of Gandaki Province, Executive Director Um Hong-gil of the Um Hong Gil Human Foundation, President Santa Bir Lama of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, Yoon Jong-Jin, head of KT’s Public Relations Office, and others from Korea and Nepal.
“As part of the ‘Visit Nepal Year’ in 2020, we expect to have an increased number of tourists,” Chief Minister Gurung said. “We are deeply grateful that we can now offer safe trekking environments to visitors in the Annapurna area, thanks to KT’s excellent ICT expertise.”
The Annapurna massif is one of the world’s most dangerous mountain ranges to ascend. Climbers in distress have often become disconnected with rescue personnel. KT’s rescue center will provide long-distance wireless communications, GPS tracking and drones for rescue operations, using long-range repeaters.
“We hope that our ICT-assisted rescue center will help ensure safe climbing on Mt. Annapurna, in spite of the region’s unfavorable network and climate conditions,” KT’s Yoon said. “KT will continue to provide for safe and happy lives by using our technology for humanitarian purposes.”
The ICT rescue center was set up as an agreement signed on May 30 between the Nepalese province of Gandaki and the Um Hong Gil Human Foundation, which supports people in less-developed countries. The Nepal Mountaineering Association will operate the center and organize rescue staff in consultation with KT.
The rescue center in the Nepal Himalayas is part of the Korean telecom provider’s second “Global GiGA Story” project, following KT’s Creating Shared Value initiative on Moheshkhali Island in Bangladesh in 2017. In Korea, six remote islands and towns, including Baengnyeongdo, Imjado and Pyeongchang, benefit from KT’s advanced network services.
As part of KT’s “Global GiGA Story” project in Nepal, the company has provided a video education system and offered Korean language classes at a school founded by the Um Hong Gil Human Foundation in Tatopani village. Also in Gandaki Province, KT has improved medical care in the remote Muktinath and Manang regions by offering a digital healthcare solution and mobile medicare package.
KT has been active in contributing to new technology services abroad, particularly in Africa. It is the only Korean company to be a part of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s report, “Connecting Africa through Broadband.” Published by the World Bank Group on October 17, the report’s “Case Studies for Practical Understanding of Universal, Affordable, and Good Quality Broadband” includes KT’s GiGA Island and GiGA Wire.