Interesting little snippet about the current state of South African Internet services. Designed simply to show up the state of South Africa’s Internet options, the test pitted a pigeon against a connection delivered by their largest provider. The pigeon managed to deliver 4GB of data 60 miles in little over an hour, and it took the company another hour to upload the data (one can only assume they were for some reason using an old USB 1.o/1.1 connection). In this time, just 4% of the data had been transferred via ADSL. Humbling though this message might be, I really wonder if services in the UK would fare much better? At a rough estimate, in the total amount of time it took the pigeon, my own connection might have managed around 5% of the total. The average business connection would probably have achieved twice that, but either way, the pigeon method wins hands down. Having said that, I don’t think we’ll be seeing any alternative pigeon networks set up in the UK just yet. ‘Packet loss’ due to hawk attacks would be monumental.

[Via African Politics Portal]

Update 5th October, 2010: Twelve months after this little stunt in South Africa, a similar experiment was repeated in rural Yorkshire. This time 24% of a 300MB video clip had been uploaded by the time the pigeons had covered the 75 miles to Skegness.