Trekkers and mountaineers in the Everest region will be able to call a doctor directly through Hello Doctor, an online emergency medical service slated to be unveiled next month by Everest Link, a wireless internet service provider in high altitude regions.

The launch has been scheduled to coincide with the peak tourist season when hordes of adventurers head for the slopes of Everest to walk on its famed trekking trails. The company said that users of Everest Link’s wi-fi connection will have access to a medical emergency button on the login page. Trekkers and mountaineers can simply press the red alert button to call for help.

Pressing the red emergency button will automatically redirect phone calls to doctors, and trekkers and mountaineers can consult them about their medical emergencies. “If the mobile phone of the dedicated doctor is busy, it will automatically connect to another doctor,” said Chehen Lama, chief technical officer of the company.

“The service provides users an easy way to consult a doctor to avoid problems or take precautions against altitude sickness and other potential hazards while travelling in high altitude areas. Obviously, people worry about a variety of things when climbing mountains, and their mind gets disturbed due to anxiety. Timely consultation can prevent lots of problems.”

However, if the case is serious, the Himalayan Rescue Association will immediately evacuate trekkers and mountaineers. “The wi-fi connection will also enable Everest Link to trace trekkers in case if they get lost in the Everest region,” said Lama.
The company provides wi-fi services in Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Shyangboche, Thame, Tengboche, Pangboche, Dingboche, Pheriche, Lobuche, Gorakshep, Gokyo and Everest Base Camp.

Lama said that Everest Link was partnering with a number of hospitals including Green City and Swacon International Hospital in Kathmandu and Kunde Hospital in the Khumbu region. The company said it was also working to provide wi-fi services ay Manaslu Base Camp and Lo Manthang. It claimed that it provides high speed wi-fi connection with a dedicated 2 Mbps bandwidth to each user. The tariff for 200 Mbps is Rs500 while the 100 Mbps service costs Rs300.

“This is a revenue sharing business model between our company and the hotels in the Khumbu region, 40 percent of the revenue goes to hotels where there are wi-fi hotspots,” said Lama.

The service is provided through more than 200 hotels, restaurants and tea shops in the Everest region. The company claimed that its coverage has been extended to 90 percent of the Khumbu region.
Everest Link was founded in 2014 with a view to establish high speed, affordable internet services in remote areas of Solukhumbu district. “Now, with the success of the project in the Everest region which is one of the most difficult terrains in the world, we are confident of providing services on any terrain,” said Tsering G Sherpa, CEO of the company.

Published on: 29-08-2017 by The Kathmandu Post

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