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September 17, 2010

Carrier pigeons faster than rural broadband

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by Darren Allan

A publicity stunt was engineered yesterday to show that UK broadband still isn’t up to scratch in some areas of the country.

Tref Davies, Co-Founder of ISP Timico, organised the stunt which involved racing pigeons against a rather poor rural broadband connection. Not that the two mediums are really directly comparable – it’s not exactly scientific methodology – but still, it’s a novel idea and proves a point.

Several carrier pigeons with microSD cards attached to their legs were released from a Yorkshire farm, and had to fly a 120 kilometre journey, while the same content the cards carried, a five minute long 200Mb video (of Tref having his hair cut, apparently), was uploaded from the farm’s connection. The idea being to see which data arrived the fastest.

The pigeons took 75 minutes to deliver their data, by which time the farm’s broadband connection had only managed to upload a quarter of the file, around 50MB. Which works out at something like 0.011Mbps, if our maths isn’t horribly wrong.

This was all to show that the UK is a nation of broadband haves and have-nots, with those in cities enjoying access to super-fast next-gen fibre connections, while rural areas struggle with figures which are a pitiful fraction of those sort of 40Mbps plus speeds.

Mr Davies told the BBC: “The farm we are using has a connection of around 100 to 200 Kbps. The kids need to do school work and the farmer has to submit online forms but the connection is not fit for purpose.”

Davies claimed that for a third of UK homes, broadband is non-existent or very slow.


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