When I began my career as a travel journalist in the 1980s, there was lots of talk about "remoteness." This was what many travelers were looking for: places so hard to get to, and so different from the world we knew, that their very existence seemed almost miraculous. Today, the value has shifted. What we look for now is connectedness: the opportunity to check our e-mail, upload video clips and chat on Skype -- even if we happen to be on the Khumbu Icefall, 18,000 feet high in the Nepal Himalaya. Last week, a network of eight 3G base stations began operating along the route to Mount Everest, in Sagarmatha National Park. They were installed by Ncell, a Nepali telecom firm. The news didn't surprise me. But I felt that, irreversibly, another blow had been struck against magic. Access to the Internet is starting to seem like a human right, so let me offer a disclaimer. There is no rational downside to the arrival of broadband on the flanks of Everest. I'
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