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Pigeon beats Internet firm in data transfer race

A South African company on Wednesday proved it was faster to transmit data by carrier pigeon than to send it using the country's leading internet service provider.
/ Source: Reuters

A South African company on Wednesday proved it was faster to transmit data by carrier pigeon than to send it using the country's leading internet service provider.

Local news agency SAPA reported the 11-month-old pigeon, Winston, took one hour and eight minutes to fly the 50 miles from Unlimited IT's offices near Pietermaritzburg to the coastal city of Durban with a data card strapped to its 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 line provided by Telkom.

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

Internet speed is expected to improve once a new 10,500-mile underwater fiber optic cable linking southern and East Africa to other networks becomes operational before South Africa hosts the soccer World Cup next year.

More on: South Africa