Pigeon post beats email

September 16, 2009

We mutter about the frustrations of rural broadband which isn’t very fast, but it’s better than dial up and it’s definitely better than South Africa where a carrier pigeon got a message through faster than email:

Computer experts at a South African firm said it took six hours to transfer four gigabytes of encrypted data from Durban to a call centre 50 miles away near Pietermaritzburg.

Staff at Unlimited Group, a financial services company, today attached a memory card to the leg of a pigeon called Winston who took just over an hour for the trip.

In total the flight, plus the time needed for the data to be uploaded, took under three hours. 

Pigeon post was used by the Persians and Romans more than 2000 years ago . How far have we come when in some parts of the world that’s still faster than 21st century technology?


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