According to Akamai’s State of the Internet report for the last quarter of 2013, South Africa ranks number 97 in the world for average bandwidth speed. In addition to this, South Africa also had a 6.8% year on year decrease in the number of people adopting high connectivity speeds (>10Mbps): down to around 1.3%.
While we might be tempted to write this decrease off as a simple reduction of luxuries as the economy tightens up, for anybody involved in the digital world this decrease is disturbing news. High speed access has become the standard among many of the world’s largest and most influential economies, such as South Korea and the United States of America, with many of these countries experiencing peak connection speeds of well over 40Mbps. Even if we were to re-define the concept of high speed to being more than 4Mbps (A speed that already 55% of countries surveyed by Akamai enjoys), South Africa is still lagging well behind with an average connection speed of only 2.3Mbps. In fact, South Africa is still the only country in the Europe/Middle East/Africa section surveyed by Akamai that had an average connection speed below 4Mbps.
What Does This Mean for South Africa?
South Africa’s average connection speed since 2012 increased by 14%. While many would suggest this is a significant improvement considering the economy, we need to take cognizance of the fact that unless we start to see massive leaps in connectivity, South Africa is not only going to be missing out on global digital interaction and involvement, but it also means that South Africa is missing out on international business and technology opportunities. If we do not institute massive connectivity solutions quickly, South Africa runs the risk of falling behind the digital divide.
Going Beyond the Average:
With the global digital eye focused on connectivity speeds in excess of 10Mbps at all times, South African businesses are going to need to invest in their digital infrastructure to remain at the cutting edge of their fields. This new digital standard, tentatively part of the broadband 2.0 philosophy, is essential as more and more devices and technologies are developed to take advantage of the high connectivity speeds that is the norm in the top ten connected countries.
There is definitely good news in the fibre world. Point Topic is reporting that we are seeing a steady increase in FTTH and FTTx connections around the world:
However in Africa, the fibre market is still in its infancy. According to Point Topic, most of the continent is still dependant on copper for its connectivity:
As fibre continues to dominate the growth trend internationally, South African business are sure to begin to follow suit as they keep up with international competitors. We have also seen that the growth in the fibre industry not only in South Africa, but globally has seen internet connectivity rates increase significantly in regions in which there is high investment on digital infrastructure:
Africa was the only continent which saw a growth in copper subscribers.
What Does This Mean for MacroLan?
MacroLan is confident that the continual growth we are seeing in the business sector is indicative of a coherent more away from copper and towards fibre broadband and wireless broadband. As more business embrace high speed fibre broadband and wireless broadband to get the benefits of Broadband 2.0, we are expecting South Africa’s non-government owned fibre networks providers to increase significantly, bringing the world to our shores.
Take a look for yourself: