South Africans have been complaining for years about the unbelievably slow internet connection in the country, compared to the impressive levels of connectivity available in Europe and the USA. Never mind the exorbitant costs we have to fork out.
So it was with considerable delight that I read this article on the BBC’s website, which proved, once and for all, that – in South Africa at least – sending data by carrier pigeon is faster than transmitting it by so-called broadband.
Apparently, a carrier pigeon by the proud name of Winston had a 4GB SD card strapped to his leg, and flew with this from Unlimited IT’s call centre in Howick, near Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, to his home in Gillits, outside Durban. There the carrier pigeon and his precious cargo were transported by car to the company’s head office in Hillcrest, where the file was uploaded to the computer.
Simultaneously, the same 4 GB file was being sent by ADSL.
“The entire exercise took approximately two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds. At that point a concurrent ADSL download at the company’s offices had managed to move just 100MB of data.” – i.e. a mere 4% of the entire file!
Transferring the file via broadband took another hour (actually, I was a bit surprised by that – perhaps the transfer suddenly speeded up?).
Telkom, which provides the ADSL internet service to the company, said (predictably, the weasels) “it was not responsible for the firm’s slow internet speeds”.
Let’s say it together: Codswallop.
Hooray for Winston!
- Winston’s official website Pigeon Race 2009
- Mail and Guardian: ‘Pigeon carries data bundles faster than Telkom’
- Mail and Guardian: ‘Winston the homing pigeon draws tweets of support’
- Mail and Guardian: ‘Telkom not to blame for pigeon firm’s slow broadband’