A BBC news story today reported that a South African carrier pigeon named Winston carrying a 4GB memory stick was able to beat an equivalent ADSL service provided by South Africa's biggest web firm, Telkom SA, over a 60 mile "course."
The "race" was conducted by Unlimited IT, a Durban IT company, as a way to highlight its complaints about slow Internet service it claimed it was receiving from Telkom.
The 60 mile race course covered the distance from Unlimited IT's call center in the town of Howick and firm's office in Durban.
Winston took one hour and eight minutes to fly the course, and it took another hour to upload the data on to an Unlimited IT system.
Unlimited IT said that the ADSL transmission of the same data size was about 4% complete over the same time.
Telkom, who probably is feeling a lot like a clay pigeon in this episode, said the slow data transmission was the fault of Unlimited IT, and not them, according to the news report. Telkom said that it had made recommendation on how the company could improve its service, but had not taken up their recommendations.
No word on a rematch.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.