Telkom's response to Pigeon Race 2009

For those that haven't been following the viral fun... Pigeon Race 2009 pits Winston the Magnificent against Telkom in a race to transfer 4 GB of data. The pigeon won. By a lot.

The Telkom media response to this has just been posted on MyBroadBand. I like it. How else could they have responded (and don't give me the tired old argument about giving us better service - of course - their everything sucks, but let's fight the little battle eh?)

It's rather amusing for a big, bloated government organisation. The last paragraph (in bold) in particular...

It must be noted that Telkom’s only involvement by way of service provisioning is the actual ADSL access lines. Contrary to speculation, the customer has an up-to 512kbps service at his Howick site from where the “race” commenced – and not Telkom’s up-to 4Mbps ADSL service.

Furthermore, it must be highlighted that Telkom is not the customer’s Internet Service Provider (ISP). Consequently, Telkom is unaware of what services, Service Level Agreements (SLAs), throttling, capping arrangements, etc exist between the customer and his ISP. These are all considerations that will impact the customer’s throughput speeds, especially in view of the fact that their network traffic travels across the public internet via a private ISP.

The ADSL service, in this application, represents a best-effort, unmanaged service which, as was highlighted to the customer during at least five previous meetings, is not the ideal option for inter-connecting Call-Centres. Having understood the nature of the customer’s business, Telkom advised on alternative means of connectivity which the customer has not, to date, accepted. These included a fully managed IP network solution that is more suited to their specific requirement of transporting large amounts of critical data between their sites and their head-office.

Telkom notes with interest that the customer has validated the fact that their choice of technology in the form of ADSL is not suited to the specific business applications that they currently use.

It must be re-iterated that Telkom has endeavoured to convey this view to the customer on several occasions over the past two years and presented alternative solutions which the customer has not embraced. Nevertheless, the Company is still amenable to further present its tailored solutions that will better address the customer’s needs.

One further needs to question the intentions of the customer, as any commercial enterprise is obligated by corporate governance considerations to secure information and data in their possession as well as ensure that the integrity thereof is maintained.

It must also be noted that no faults or complaints were logged by the customer on any of his lines or escalated to his Customer Relationship Manager, while the customer’s fault history over the recent past indicates that an overwhelming majority of these emanated from customer premises equipment and not the Telkom network.

Finally, it has not escaped Telkom’s attention that this entire episode has generated much excitement and interest, but the Company emphatically denies that we are currently considering placing this means of data transfer in our product catalogue and wholesaling it. However, Telkom is glad that, finally, we are able to welcome “real” competition in the telecommunications industry and, as a Company, we are confident that the above-mentioned points of clarification will certainly set the cat among the pigeons.

By the way - my hearty congratulations to the brains behind Winston. Novel approach. Great content leakage in the build up and a genuine sense of humour. I just hope it doesn't fizzle out like most Telkom protests...


Interesting comment from the technically astute Rudolph Muller on the resulting forum:

While the experiment was entertaining, it says nothing about the speed or price of broadband. A pigeon with a flash disc can easily outperform a 100 Mbps fibre connection, given that the distance is sufficiently small in relation to the flash disk size.


  1. This is almost similar to a post on Vincent Maher's blog about Standard Bank not "getting" the socialmediasphere.. and Belinda Carreira of Standard Bank responding to comments but not dealing with the real issue at hand. She instead chose to look at how long Myles the Butler has been on facebook and Twitter instead of the fact that Standard was just not "getting" it.

    Telkom, in their response. is firstly reacting and secondly defending.

    My personal experience with Telkom has been that I enquired after a 384kBps ADSL line and was told it will take 22 days before they can install. When I switched my choice to a 4MBps line the installation was done 96 hours later.
    I am now back on a 384kBps line becaus emy supposed 4MBps line never got me anywhere above 150kBps regardles sof the time of day or night. So for 6 months I paid Telkom R600 pm rental for a service I wasn't getting. I wish I could sue them for breach, but sadly have no way of proving in court that I never got more than 150kBps.. and sites like Hellopeter and Getclosure are more conduits than "resolutionists".

    So from experience I can attest to the fact that Telkom - as an ISP - is deceptive in marketing 4MB lines when they can't deliver that sort of data speeds..


Post a Comment

Popular Posts