SA internet access lagging

2012-05-29 20:18

Johannesburg - Internet penetration is low compared to other leading economies in Africa due to high broadband cost and a lack of infrastructure, a study said on on Tuesday.

According to the study commissioned by Google South Africa, the country had 8.5 million internet users in 2011, compared to 6.8 million people in 2010.

"This growth brings internet penetration in South Africa to approximately 17%," said the report.

"Despite rapid growth, however, it lags significantly behind the biggest internet user bases in Africa".

Oil-rich Nigeria, which is also Africa's most populous nation, has the highest internet penetration at 29%, followed by Egypt, Morocco and Kenya.

Growth in South Africa, the continent's largest economy was attributed to the propagation of smartphones to access the internet, which took off in 2008.

"It should also be borne in mind that access and cost remains the biggest obstacle to internet connectivity, particularly in less developed areas," said Luke Mckend, Google SA country manager.

This year's arrival of an undersea fibre-optic cable, which connects large parts of Africa with the world was expected to improve broadband connectivity across the continent.

The cable has landing points in 10 other countries along Africa's western coast and its arrival promises an internet boost for Africa, where only 9.6% of people are web users, compared to 65% of Europeans.

  • Lacrimose - 2012-05-29 20:45

    The only lag-ging being done is Telkom and the other ICT providers - all the way to the bank. Until the *pricing model* AND bandwidth capacities are brought into line with the rest of the world, we'll fall further and further behind. Time for the foot-dragging and stranglehold Telkom has on the infrastructure and pricing model to end. But I am quite sure we'll be told about another "investigative committee" and have to wait another 5 years for a non-result.

      Klippies - 2012-05-30 11:00

      We're getting milked at the telecommunications front, electricity and fuel. Telkom operates in 38 countries in Africa. Their telecommunications are cheaper. We export our electricity and fuel to neighboring countries and they sell it for cheaper as well.

      Rupert - 2012-05-30 12:09

      @klippies you are 100% correct , iam from zimbabwe and i have seen that basic foodstuffs that are exported to Zim from south africa are actually cheaper there than here , we get most of fuel here and in zim petrol sells for about $1 , which translates to about R8 /litre . Cellphone rates are actually amazing , if you recharge with $1 you can talk for almost 10 minutes on a cellphone , but here that doesn happen i guess .In public internet cafe's you pay $1 for 2 hours internet surfing you can download till you get fed up .

  • Simon - 2012-05-29 20:50

    Recently my ISP, Axxess reduced their pricing on all but the 4meg offering which remains at R496. When I enquired as to why, the reply was 'I don't know' I can tell you. I bet the 4 Meg connection is the most popular and hence the biggest cash cow. Why stop shafting the customer when it's making you tons of cash?? We keep hearing of all these new lines, but honestly has much changed since SEACOM arrived?

      Blertsie - 2012-05-29 23:52

      Change your ISP. Afrihost had huge pricing cuts again last month. And the service is excellent.

      Blertsie - 2012-05-29 23:55

      Forgot to mention. Sorry. Like all other ISP's they too have to make use of the Telkom infrastructure. So sad for us internet users. :)

  • kaboo1 - 2012-05-29 21:09

    This is all purely due to the greedy Service providers we have the like's of Vod@com,M?N, Cell @ and the rest who will follow. Nothing for the consumer and who gives a Continental if the Exec's in these companies just keep on getting bigger bonuses without any consideration for the consumer. The consumers should air their voices we have been ripped off for decades now. So air your opinion on Hello Peter and cause an uprising.

  • johns54 - 2012-05-29 21:11

    When I did a project in Kenya 12 years ago I was amazed to find that their internet and telekom was cheaper and more efficient than South Africa. So much for South Africa's technology....

      Rupert - 2012-05-30 12:02

      John, to be honest South africa is living in a myth that they are the most technologicaly advanced country on the continent, on a recent survey i believe south africa ranks no6 on the continent for the fastest internet speed, way below Ghana and Zimbabwe , yes Zimbabwe. Internet is very expensive in south africa as compared to other countries in the region .

  • Johann - 2012-05-29 21:12

    Apartheid's fault.

      Klippies - 2012-05-30 10:10

      Ja Johan, ons sĂȘ maar so.

  • busisiwe.kubeka1 - 2012-05-29 21:17

    Nationalize those white owned companies they are ripping us,look at Zim teleone they are owned by black Zimbabweans but they are cheaper n safaricom in Kenya

      Johan Vermaak - 2012-05-29 21:36

      Hahahaha! Actually, it is because of Telkom, controlled by government, that the prices are so high!

      ramosa61 - 2012-05-29 23:21

      @Busisiwe: Ever been to Zim lately? While they may be cheaper, their service is pathetic. After the slightest rain, the telecom system dies for a minimum of 4 days. This has nothing to do with nationalisation or the blackness of their shareholders: Pure greed through corruptive and fraudulent practice has drained the bottom from the Zim infrastructure. No problem with black empowerment as a remedy for the legacy of apartheid, but what kind of checks will be in place to prevent the corruptives from hijacking the affirmative dream? Maybe, just maybe, after 18 years of liberty, we could stop shouting "race!" to every issue we want to support and, instead, start delivering a competitive service to gain the support of the consumer?

      marcosusername - 2012-05-30 05:49


  • Gideon Stoop - 2012-05-29 21:31

    ICASA is the biggest stumbling block. Telkom a close 2nd. Both with close ties to the government. Then it is quite a surprise that we are ranked so high.

  • africanwolf - 2012-05-29 21:38

    We are one of the most expensive countries for internet access in the world, even a poor country like Ukraine is faster and cheaper, and we are one of the slowest on speed that is a fact. They know if they make internet faster and cheaper, no one will watch dstv there are many free channels on the net, which the current speed does not allow to watch. therefore I don't see it happening here

  • william.seyama - 2012-05-29 21:42

    Why m I not surprised -

  • Colin - 2012-05-30 08:17

    What I find amazing is that many ISP's have recently started offering these "lightning" connection speeds while us poor sods in the country don't even have access to ADSL at all. I have had an application in with Telkom for almost 10years now and no luck Every so often I take a chance and submit a new one just to be told that I already have an application on record. I'm told that we have fibre cables and they need copper for ADSL but just the other day I heard that they were now installing fibre cables for the faster connections. So who's lying and why? Surely in 10 years they could have found a solution.

  • Colin - 2012-05-30 08:45

    Oh, I forgot to mention that we according to all the ISP's, we on the edge of the 3G area out here and none of them will guarantee a successful connection. I took a chance and bought a 3G modem and by sheer luck I found a spot that actually gave me a decent signal by hooking the modem up to a series of extension cables and strategically tying it to a window in a particular spot. I'm sure there are many other folk in the same position so why do we get discriminated against? Is it because we are in the minority?

  • Stef - 2012-05-30 10:31

    While all the rants about greedy ISPs and Telkom's monopoly might have merit, it is a simple matter of numbers: South Africa has a population density of 36 persons per square kilometer, whereas say, Nigeria has 141. This means that every km of cable, every transmitter, every other piece of equipment in an area serves fewer people, thus higher costs per person. This is even more compounded in the outlying areas where the population density is way, way lower.

  • spencer.bullard - 2012-05-30 13:49

    I run a business in Cape Town we pay 10286ZAR per month for 10Mbps broadband from Neotel, this same internet in Europe costs less than 600ZAR, and they wonder why broadband penetration is slow? Prices are fixed to ensure profits. Also NEotels technical support is outsourced to India!!! Are there not enough unemployed educated and cheap labour here in SA to have a domestic call centre?

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