This Thing Called Courage

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pigeon Transfers Data Faster Than South Africa's Telkom



Wed Sep 9, 3:54 pm ET

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A South African information technology company on Wednesday proved it was faster for them to transmit data with a carrier pigeon than to send it using Telkom , the country's leading internet service provider.

Internet speed and connectivity in Africa's largest economy are poor because of a bandwidth shortage. It is also expensive.

Local news agency SAPA reported the 11-month-old pigeon, Winston, took one hour and eight minutes to fly the 80 km (50 miles) from Unlimited IT's offices near Pietermaritzburg to the coastal city of Durban with a data card was strapped to his leg.

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

SAPA said Unlimited IT performed the stunt after becoming frustrated with slow internet transmission times.

The company has 11 call-centers around the country and regularly sends data to its other branches.

Telkom could not immediately be reached for comment.

Internet speed is expected to improve once a new 17,000 km underwater fiber optic 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.

(Reporting by Peroshni Govender; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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