Pigeon PR stunt: Telkom 'not to blame' - TechCentral

Pigeon PR stunt: Telkom ‘not to blame’

Homing pigeonTelkom says it cannot be blamed for slow broadband services at a Durban-based company which claims a pigeon can carry its data bundles faster.

“Telkom would like to clarify that the company cannot be blamed for this particular customer’s lack of throughput speeds,” Troy Hector, executive of business sales and ICT business solutions, told Sapa in an e-mail on Thursday.

“Several recommendations have, in the past, been made to the customer but none of these have, to date, been accepted. It must also be noted that Telkom is not the customer’s core service provider,” said Hector.

The Durban-based company, which operates call centres, on Wednesday sent a pigeon with a 4GB data card strapped to his legs from Howick to Hillcrest, near Durban. At the same time, it started transmitting a 4GB file via ADSL.

In total, it took two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds for Winston the pigeon to fly to Hillcrest and to upload the data from the card onto the call centre system. By that time, the ADSL transmission of the same data size was around 4% complete.

The company’s IT head, Kevin Rolfe, said Telkom phoned him a few days ago to say that if he experienced any problems with its lines,  he should log a complaint with the Telkom call centre. “When there is a [major]problem we do it, but the problems are so ongoing that you will end up continuously logging faults,” said Rolfe.  — Sapa


  1. Matthew French on

    Telkom are being disingenuous. If the customer is using ADSL, they are using Telkom – no matter how much Telkom might like to pretend otherwise.

    If my experience of Telkom is anything to go by, their “recommendations” were probably to go for a solution that costs ten times more whilst offering half the performance.

    In Telkom’s defence the A in ADSL stands for Asymmetric – as in download speeds are faster than upload speeds. So the maximum speed sending data on a 1Mbps line is around 200kbps. Except in this case it is not much of a defence – if Telkom weren’t completely clueless they could have used it themselves instead of trying to act like other parties were to blame.

    So if Telkom can’t even rebuff a simple publicity stunt, what hope do they have of ever providing usable telecommunications infrastructure?

  2. Keverne Thurling on

    I’m in no way defending Telkom but yes, A in ADSL stands for Asymmetric and at 200kbps its simple maths to determine how long it will take to transmit a file. They were not “downloading” a file, but also transmitting it. So the ADSL line speed was immaterial as the transmit speed would barely make 200kbps. ADSL is not designed to be used as a “data” transmit medium. You get what you pay for. Transmitting raw data from point A to point B is expensive if you also also want speed.

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