In South Africa, carrier pigeon faster than broadband

Summary:In South Africa, the fast data delivery that broadband promises has yet to materialize. So much so, in fact, that a carrier pigeon can beat it.

There's no denying the power of effective broadband service, but in South Africa, the fast data delivery that it promises has yet to materialize.

So much so, in fact, that a carrier pigeon can beat it.

An IT company based in Durban, South Africa sponsored a 60-mile data transmission race between an 11-month-old pigeon carrying a 4GB memory stick and the ADSL service from the country's biggest web firm, Telkom.

'Winston' the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles.

In that same amount of time, the ADSL had sent 4 percent of the data.

Of course, Telkom said that it was not responsible for the slow Internet speeds.

The BBC reports:

"Several recommendations have, in the past, been made to the customer but none of these have, to date, been accepted," Telkom's Troy Hector told South Africa's Sapa news agency in an e-mail.

The idea for the race grew out of IT professionals' complaints about the speed of data transmission on ADSL.

One IT pro based in the town of Howick said it would be faster by carrier pigeon.

Turns out he was right.

Howick-based Unlimited IT said the pigeon took one hour and eight minutes to fly between the offices. The data took another hour to upload on to their system.

South Africa hopes to benefit from three new fiberoptic cables being laid around the African continent to improve Internet connections.

Until then, well, there's always Winston.

Topics: Mobility, Enterprise Software, Networking, Telcos


Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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