Wireless Solu Khumbu Scheme for 2006-2007
This is the beginning of the March '06 implementation of Yeti Airlines 5 new Lodges up the Khumbu, for which Tsering will provide Wireless-Satellite Internet. And he will own/operate his new Namche Lodge. News of Tsering Sherpa's success in putting up the world's highest Cyber Cafe at 18,000 foot Everest Base Camp in 2003, supported by 802.11b Wi-Fi wireless links arranged for him to get spread around the world. And then in 2004 when I trekked to Namche and donated a complete set of Smartbridges radios and linked up the remote School in Thame to a Sherpa teacher in Pittsburgh, USA, I told Tsering before I left "I am making you famous, if not rich."
Well, he may be on the way, at Sherpa scale, at least, in becoming much more successful. For Yeti Airlines - the Sherpa owned Nepalese airline which shuttles tens of thousands of trekkers and climbers to the trekking jump off village of Lukla, has contacted Tsering and made the following deal.
1. Any trekker who flies into Lukla on a Yeti plane, need only to present his or her ticket in Tsering's Cyber Cafe in Namche (after having trekked for days to reach it) and they will get free connectivity. And Yeti will reimburse Tsering.
2. Yeti is building 5 new Lodges - one in Lukla, Phakding, Namche, Thame, and on Kwandge. The Namche Lodge is being built by Tsering after they funded him to take down his old home that is in a strategic location for those trekking
up there. He and his wife will operate the Lodge, which he half owns now, and into which he will move his old Cybercafe, where the new satellite system with higher bandwidth and lower monthly cost they gave him, will reside.
3. And Tsering is setting up for Yeti, using his wireless expertise to equip ALL five lodges with Internet connectivity, linked out through his satellite system in Namche. (this last is very challenging)
4. Yeti is offering by March 2006 - beginning of the trekking season - a 'Yeti Home' trekking package, for 1,400 Euros ($1,667 right now), which includes 2 days in Kathmandu, 2 days after being flown to Lukla in its lodge, 2 days in Phakding, usually the end of the first day's trek from Lukla, 2 days in Tsering's Lodge in Namche, after one or two days treking from Phakding, then acclimating at its 12,000 foot altitude, visiting the Tibetan Marketplace, and using, of course, his Cybercafe. Then 2 days in their lodge in Thame, and finally, after a hard 5 hour trek up Kungde to the highest lodge, at 15,000 feet, where the photographic mountain views are fantastic.
I hope to visit him there. I'll be 78, but I think I can make it. I have Pikes Peak just 10 minutes away, to work out on before I go.
YETI AIRLINES PROMOTIONAL WEB SITE - Great Pictures of all Lodges