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Thursday, 10 September 2009 04:49

Carrier pigeon outpaces South Africa's broadband network

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You’d have to be bird-brained to think that South Africa’s broadband speeds are anything but atrocious, after a carrier pigeon strapped with a data card beat the country’s leading internet service provider.

A South African information technology company, frustrated with consistently slow internet transmission rates in their country, proved on Wednesday that it was faster for them to transmit data with a carrier pigeon to send it using Telkom, the country’s leading internet service provider.

Local news agency SAPA and subequently Reuters reported the 11-month-old pigeon, Winston, took one hour and eight minutes to fly the 80km from Unlimited IT’s offices near Pietermaritzburg to the coastal city of Durban with a data card strapped to his leg.

Including downloading, the transfer took two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds - the time it took for just four percent of the data to be transferred using a Telkom line.

Internet speed and connectivity in Africa’s largest economy are poor because of a bandwidth shortage. It is also expensive, putting it out of reach of many of the local population.

Comment is being sought from Telkom.

According to Reuters, internet speed is expected to improve in the country once a new 17,000 km underwater fiber optic to other cable linking southern and East Africa to other networks becomes operational before South Africa hosts the soccer World Cup next year.

Local service providers are currently negotiating deals for more bandwidth.
 
No word yet either with regards to the entire South African broadband network being replaced with carrier pigeons.

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