Who's faster at transferring data: a carrier pigeon or an internet service provider in South Africa?
In an experiment arranged by a frustrated IT company, an 11-month-old carrier pigeon named Winston delivered data 25 percent faster than South Africa's leading internet service provider, named Telkom.
Winston, with a data card strapped to his leg, flew the 50 miles (80 km) from the offices of Unlimited IT near Pietermaritzburg to the coastal city of Durban in one hour and eight minutes.
Including downloading, the data 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.
Internet speed is painfully slow in South Africa because of limited bandwith, but is expected to improve with a new 17,000 km underwater fiber-optic cable that will link southern and east Africa to other networks before South Africa hosts the soccer World Cup next year.
Collage painting "Wanderlust Carrier Pigeon" by Christina Lovering