Pigeon vs broadband trailer on the BBC

Audio of a trailer intereview I did with the BBC last night talking about the rerun of the South African broadband versus pigeon race but in the UK this Thursday.

Update 17.20 15th Sept

There is a fair bit of media interest in this event with live radio interviews for BC Humberside and BBC Lincolnshire for tomorrow’s breakfast shows, mid morning and drivetime on BBC Lincolnshire as well as extensive  TV coverage on Look North. The BBC main news website is also covering the event.

Look out for the  rory&tref  hashtag on twitter during the day.  Rory and Tref are the two pigeons that will be carrying the microSD cards (Rory Stewart is the MP for Penrith).  Check out the Cumbrian Rural Broadband event he is organising here.

On a side note we will know the exact time of arrival of the pigeons back in the loft because they will be RF ID tagged. I am expecting a convincing  avian victory.

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14 thoughts on “Pigeon vs broadband trailer on the BBC

  1. cyberdoyle says:

    Brilliant! Pigeons R Us
    just hoping that this late in the racing season the weather holds up for Thursday… and that Rory or Tref win

  2. Karim says:

    I trust you’ll be using the IP over Avian Carriers specification from 01/04/1990…

  3. cyberdoyle says:

    love the memo Karim…

  4. cyberdoyle says:

    hashtag changed to #trefandrory – good luck to the pigeons

  5. Richard Dix says:

    Good luck Tref. I will keep following and tweeting as it goes.

    Weather fine for flight!

    Richard Dix

  6. Hodge says:

    Tref you are the stuff of legends! I hope you are using a B2B only pigeons, none of this overworked residential tosh… I am intrigued to see if the pigeon suffers any congestion at peak pigeon usage time !!!! Good Luck…

  7. Worth remembering that a stunt almost identical to this was done last year.

    “A homing pigeon called ‘Winston’ successfully transferred 4GB of data on a memory card between two 50 mile apart Durban (South Africa) companies in the space of just over 2 hours, while the same amount of data had barely managed 4% over the firm’s broadband link.”

  8. Just added the link since there wasn’t one in your article. The pigeon always wins against broadband tech :).

  9. Gareth says:


    This was reviewed in 1999 and RFC2549 is the updated version:

    IP over Avian Carriers with Quality of Service

  10. cyberdoyle says: link to Margaret the pigeon in the Oz version of our pigeon race. (nb language a bit rough)

  11. Deborah Barham Smith says:


    I am delighted to hear that something is being done to publicise the lack of broadband (let alone speeds) in rural areas. I live in the wilds of the Peak District and am looking to buy a house which currently cannot get Broadband. The only way I might (just might) be able to get it is via satellite – not a cheap option when you’re on a pension!! So much for the government wanting us all to be online!! Good luck with the pigeon.

  12. Jake says:

    You do realize that Pigeons are one of the FASTEST data carriers, don’t you?

    It’s a terrible analogy. A single pigeon loaded up with a full 32GB MicroSDHC card can carry around 58Mbits/sec of data in 75mins. That’s faster than most high speed fiber connections. With 2 cards the pigeons would be faster that most servers on 100Mbit ethernet connections.

    So really its like saying my rural internet is slower than the fastest ferrari, no kidding…

  13. @Deborah – contact beyondDsl ( about an affordable satellite connection, and then share the connection with your neighbours. Just check it is permissible on the contract to split the cost between all of you but no reason why it shouldn’t be.

    Fibrestream, cyberdoyle and many others will advise you on the reqd wireless kit to share it out over wifi with others around you. Wew wrote a paer years ago “10 and you’re there” for sharing and it’s probably still online somewhere.

    Whilst satellite may not be FTTH, it is here today at around £17 a month or less and under £300 for the kit, which is then yours. I got a satellite dish here in Cumbria over 6 years ago and couldn’t have managed without it.

  14. oops, scuse typos in previous post! we wrote a paper….!

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