According to Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report, South Africa is at the bottom of the heap when compared to the rest of the world for broadband adoption and average connection speeds.

Did you know that the most common internet speed in South Africa is a 4Mbps line? According to the report, over 40% of those who have a broadband connection currently have this speed – or at least had this speed by the end of 2015.

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“A total of 12 countries – up from 9 in the previous quarter – enjoyed 4 Mbps broadband adoption rates above 90% with several more in close range. Despite its strong quarterly gain, South Africa again had the lowest 4 Mbps broadband adoption rate in the group by far with just over one in four IP addresses connecting to Akamai at or above the threshold speed,” Akamai said in the report.

Things are a bit bleaker when speeds are shifted up to 10Mbps and 15Mbps. In SA, only 3.8% of broadband users have an internet connection above 10Mbps, and only 1.9% have a connection above 15Mbps.

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“Four surveyed countries had adoption rates below 10% in the fourth quarter—down from five in the third. South Africa remained the country with the lowest adoption level in the region, and despite a 13% quarterly increase, the gap between South Africa and the top ranking EMEA country widened from 36 percentage points to 43 in the fourth quarter,” the report noted.

That is all fine and well, but how does South Africa stack up against the US? Well, as you can see from the graph below, South Africa’s average connection speed is well off from that of the US. According to Akamai, in the first quarter of this year SA has an average broadband connection speed of 6.5Mbps. The US, on the other hand, has an average connection speed of 15.3Mbps.

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If that seems bad, the end of 2015 was even worse, as SA only had an average connection speed of 4.1Mbps.

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“Fourth-quarter changes were positive across the board for the surveyed countries with slightly stronger gains than in the third quarter. Increases ranged from 0.8% in Turkey to 19% in Hungary. Twelve countries posted double-digit gains, up from four in the third quarter,” the report noted.

All in all, while SA might pale in comparison to the rest of the world, there is a somewhat silver lining – things can only get better from here. Sure, we might not be the fastest in the world, but at least we are not regressing in internet speed.

[Image – CC by 2.0/Gavin St. Ours]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.