Impatient to post your mountaintop Instagram? Visitors to Mt. Fuji may never have to face that sentiment again; wifi is coming to the summit on July 10.
While safety is a factor (advocates cite updated weather forecasts as one benefit of the eight new hotspots), tourism seems to be the driving concern. The promise of wifi on Mt. Fuji came after a spate of requests, particularly from American and European tourists.
Americans may be angling for the same amenities on their home soil. Yellowstone National Park officials are debating the installation of a $34 million fiber optic line stretching from Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone proper.
Proponents of installation make arguments similar to those from Mt. Fuji officials, saying the new technology will boost both tourism and rescue efforts. Dissenters, however, protest the intrusion of the grid on wild places.
Plans to install new cell and radio towers in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks in 2013 sparked controversy, though both plans went through – you may not be able to tweet from Old Faithful or Glacier’s Lake McDonald, but you can certainly make a phone call.
In the US, the technology push is part of the NPS “Go Digital” campaign to stay relevant in the modern age. Mt. Fuji officials will be conducting a small campaign of their own to induct hikers to the new system – they plan to hand out 70,000 brochures to explain the setup (and the wifi passwords) to tourists angling for the summit. The service will be available for 72 hours after login.