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Broadband Still No Match for Carrier Pigeons

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We are innovating at a record pace, designing gadgets that amaze even the most jaded consumer. And while many of us are walking around with the equivalent to the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in our pockets, there are areas of the world still lagging behind the resourcefulness of flying sewer rats.

Demonstrating the embarrassing broadband speeds of UK's rural areas, demonstrators released ten pigeons each affixed with USB thumb drives to make a 120-kilometer journey from Yorkshire to Skegness. At the same time, a 300MB file was uploaded during the trip.

Seventy-five minutes later, the birds arrived and only 24% of the file was completed.

The stunt echoed the results last year in Durban, South Africa where two pigeons flew 96 kilometers while a 4GB file was downloaded. After two hours, the birds arrived and just 4% of the file was finished. But in the Yorkshire farmland, the connection varies between 100 and 200Kbps -- an abysmal, just-above-dial-up speed.

The UK government has pledged to deliver broadband speeds at a minimum of 2Mbps to every home by 2015. So until then, as always, anyone in a UK rural area is better off with a 2GB thumb drive and a long net on a stick.
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