Pigeon beats Telkom
Cape Town - Winston, a homing pigeon, has made history by beating a Telkom ADSL line in delivering 4GB of data from Howick to Hillcrest, outside Durban in just 2 hours 6 minutes and 57 seconds, whereas the ADSL download was "still just under four percent complete" at 11:45.
South Africa's most famous pigeon, left Howick just after 10:00 on Wednesday morning and flew a distance of around 70km to deliver a data card (strapped to his leg) to financial services company The Unlimited at its head office in Hillcrest.
Winston easily beat the ADSL line, despite giving it a 26 minute head start, while stretching his wings and waiting for the company data to be downloaded onto the memory card.
A confident Winston flew straight to his home in Gillits, outside Hillcrest, from where he caught a short car ride to reach the Hillcrest head office. Homing pigeons have a natural ability to find their way home from any point of departure.
Winston enjoyed huge support with messages from fans on his Facebook profile and constant tweets on his Twitter feed.
He himself also twittered several times with comments like "flying weather cloudy and cool, feeling good, no major problems to report... Hillcrest traffic is a worry".
Right from the start, the general consensus was that Winston would beat Telkom.
Cyber Stone Age
South Africans have long lamented the country's slow internet connections and limited bandwidth.
Despite the launch of the new Seacom cable about two months ago and promises of superfast internet at affordable prices, South Africans are still stuck in the Cyber Stone Age.
The Unlimited Group initiated the pigeon race after intensive research in alternative methods of delivering electronic data fast and efficiently.
"We came across the lesser spotted internet protocol: IPoAC or CPIP, commonly known as Internet protocol over Avian Carrier or Carrier Pigeon Internet Protocol respectively," the company said in a statement on their website.
Hundreds of fans followed Winston's historic flight online, however, many of them had to settle for Twitter updates, as, ironically, their internet connections were too slow to watch the live stream.
"Crap! Internet connection useless! Unable to watch live stream, plse post running commentary so we know how Winston's doing!," Jackyah333 tweeted on Twitter.
"Yeah thats why this #pigeonrace2009 is a great spectacle of telecoms inadequacy ;)" another Winston fan Kahlil_Incubus added.
According to a Sapa report, Telkom spokesperson Pynee Chetty declined to comment on Winston's win, requesting the news agency to send questions via e-mail.
For more information about the pigeon race visit the official website.