S.Africa’s broadband is below global standards - CNBC Africa

S.Africa’s broadband is below global standards

Southern Africa

by Thando Matutu 0

Laptop computer with high speed download connection. PHOTO:Getty images

The list compiled by the Akamai state of the internet report shows there has been little progress in South African broadband development.

“We used to be the 14th ranked country in terms of internet penetration in scale of population size,” Duncan McLeod editor of TechCentral told CNBC Africa.

TechCentral is a South African based online newsletter focusing on technology.


The internet report consists of global information with extensive reference to broadband adoption, mobile usage, internet connection speeds, attacks and outages. An analysis based on this information is utilised to construct a report on online trends.

According to McLeod the current situation is subject to the government ICT policies and regulations.

(READ MORE:Mauritius leading nation in broadband provision)

“The government has been slow into giving licensing, [providing] the infrastructure to receive cooperation municipalities to put up trenches, the government has been delaying to compile new guidelines, policies and regulation surrounding the rapid deployment of telecommunications infrastructure," he said.

The report ranking is compiled on a quarterly basis. It was reported that the global average connection speed grew by 5.5 per cent to 3.8 Mbps. South Korea has the highest connection speed in the world with a recording of 21.9 Mbps per second

While South Africa’s average speed of 2.3 Mbps is up 14 per cent year on year shows that South Africa is below world standards.

The EMEA region reported a high broadband threshold of 10Mbps and South Africa was the exception being the only country with an average speed less than the 4 Mbps broadband threshold in the fourth quarter.

“The mobile operators are not given access to additional spectrum that can allow them to build a next generation network. [While] the legacy of Telkom being protected in the past [by government] and restrictions of competition [private companies] in the fixed line markets ,” said McLeod.

However, there has been a development plan to improve the broadband status of South Africa.

“Government is doing a lot now, [the] new broadband policy is out,  The Department of Communication is working to combat the issue that have held us back,” said McLeod.

(READ MORE:Data market in Africa set for a double digit growth)

In order to improve the broadband status in South Africa there has to be change in the government regulations to allow free market within the broadband spectrum.

“The GSMA the global cell phone association, has been stressing the point that we must open up the digital divide, the radio frequency spectrum that will be freed by broadcasters when there’s a move from analogue to digital television. License the spectrum to existing and new operators," said McLeod.