South Africa's Telkom: For the Birds or Not For the Birds


Responsive image You have probably read the April Fool's Day RFC 1149 (A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers) (available at

You may have read which is about an implementation of it. Maybe they should try it in South Africa. They appear to have the hardware.

A South African information technology company on Wednesday proved it was faster for them to transmit data with a carrier pigeon than to send it using Telkom, the country's leading [I]nternet service provider. Internet  speed and connectivity in South Africa are poor because of a bandwidth shortage. The 11-month-old pigeon, Winston, took one hour and eight minutes to fly the 80 km from Unlimited IT's offices near Pietermaritzburg to the coastal city of Durban with a data card strapped to his leg. In that time, just two per cent of the data was sent over the Internet." [Source: Pigeon Transfers Data Faster Than Internet Provider (Reuters), Kamloops This Week Daily (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 2009-09-11 issue, p. 4]

The joke used to be about the bandwidth of a station wagon full of magtapes, and now, the hardware has been miniaturised to pigeon-size. I am amazed at he advances in computer technology.

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