Pigeon moves data faster than broadband

A South African company has found that sending a USB stick with a homing pigeon is faster than its slow broadband connection.

Pigeon, not Winston

A South African company has become so disgruntled with its slow broadband connection, that's it begun transferring large files via homing pigeon.

In a very tortoise and hare story, a financial services company based in Durban, South Africa pitted a homing pigeon carrying 4GB of data on a USB stick against its broadband connection to find out which would be faster transferring the data between its two offices 80km apart.

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The homing pigeon, named Winston, arrived with the USB stick in two hours and seven minutes, just as the download hit four per cent complete. The company believes Winston can be trained to deliver the data in 45 minutes, a significant boost over its ropey broadband connection.

"For years we've struggled with the internet as a method of communication. It's fine for e-mails and correspondence, but we need to transfer a lot of data from one office to another and find it often lets us down," the company's chief executive Kevin Rolfe told the Metro newspaper. "If we get bad weather and the service goes down it can up to two days to get through."

However, he admitted the plan is not without its difficulties. "There are other problems, of course. Winston is vulnerable to the weather and predators such as hawks. Obviously he will have to take his chances but we're confident this system can work for us," said Rolfe.

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Pigeons to bridge Britain's broadband divide anybody?

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