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South Africa’s internet traffic has boomed over the last decade
04/07/22
a computer screen with graphs showing increasing figures

In the last ten years, internet traffic in South Africa has blossomed with a growth rate of 442 000%. Largely attributed to the increase in high definition video streaming, South Africans are spending more time online than ever before. 

These days, around 70% of South Africans go online on a regular basis. This is approximately double the amount of people compared to a decade ago. Looking ahead, it is predicted that by 2027, 90% of the country will be active internet users.  

Internet traffic in South Africa

The boom in internet traffic in South Africa has been supported by higher speeds and improved fibre infrastructure. Driving internet traffic growth is the need for large file transfers, cloud computing and remote working. Thanks to increasing connection speeds, internet users can now do a lot more online. The average speed increased three-fold between 2016 and 2021, going from 6 Mbps to almost 18 Mbps.

The majority of South Africans are connecting to the internet using smart phones. Stats from May 2022 reveal that web traffic from cell phones accounted for 77% of total internet traffic. Although internet traffic continues to grow in South Africa, there is still a need to improve internet access for low-income communities. 

Improving internet access in South Africa

Internet access is crucial for inclusive growth. South Africa needs to continue to bridge the digital divide if all its citizens are to take advantage of new digital opportunities. In response to this, the South African government aims to provide free universal internet for low-income users by 2024. 

By giving free data to citizens, the government hopes to raise living standards and improve access to essential services and resources. This digital inclusion strategy includes free Wifi for municipalities, digital literacy programs and zero-rated content for government sites. Although South Africa is ranked number one in Africa in terms of digital readiness, the government still has a long way to go to make free universal internet a reality

A rise in internet traffic leads to digital transformation 

Compared to the rest of Africa, the internet in South Africa is generally more affordable and better quality. Thanks to a competitive ISP market, high quality connectivity has become more affordable. This is an essential step if South Africa is going to achieve the World Bank’s objectives for digital transformation in Africa

By 2030, the World Bank’s Digital Economy for Africa initiative (DE4A) aims to have all citizens, businesses and governments digitally enabled. Economic resilience has been linked to technological advancements and connectivity. This means that as the internet improves, South Africans will be able to tackle some of its socio-economic challenges, through improved access to opportunities and resources. 

Investment in South African internet 

Since the first fibre optic cables went live in 2009, there has been a massive investment in South Africa’s internet sector. Locally based data centres have been a key area for investment. Current business models rely heavily on digital services, applications and cloud-based networks. By having data centres on South Africa soil, huge volumes of data are processed more quickly. This supports economic growth and attracts further investment. 

The fibre optic market is set for exponential growth. By 2027, this market is expected to reach R368.5 billion. As South Africa continues to roll out fibre throughout the country, internet traffic will continue to grow in coming years. 

Internet traffic with fibre

Fibre networks are designed to have additional capacity. As internet traffic increases, fibre networks are able to scale up to meet growing demand. Investment and upgrades to subsea fibre optics supports internet growth in South Africa. This is good news as the increased availability of fibre means better performance and lower costs for the end-users. 

More homes and businesses, even in small towns, are choosing fibre internet. Fibre connectivity is transforming rural towns and attracting remote workers. Professionals opting for the ‘quiet life’ are moving to so-called Zoom Towns. This has served to breathe life into small towns along the South African coast. Local businesses and communities benefit from an influx of professionals and their disposable incomes. 

The growth in internet traffic in South Africa is attributed to the growth in fibre connectivity. Fibre supports high definition web-conferencing on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. It enables multiple users in the household or office to connect at the same time.  

South Africans are becoming more data hungry

A few years ago, getting a gigabyte of internet every month would have been more than enough for a few emails and some instant messaging. Nowadays, a gig generally isn’t enough for a day of work or a movie night at home. 

We’ve become accustomed to binge watching TV series, having video chats with friends, gaming online and other online activities that use up lots of data. If you are a heavy internet user, you’ll probably need at least 100 gigs a month to go online without worrying about running out of data. 

With a reputable provider, such as WonderNet, users enjoy super fast internet which is uncapped and unthrottled. This means there is no limit as to how much internet you can use. It also means that you can expect consistent speeds at all times. 
WonderNet’s user-friendly self-help platform makes it effortless to upgrade or change your package. As you use the internet more and connect more devices, you can easily increase the size of your package with just a few clicks. For more information about our fibre offerings or to get a quote for an internet upgrade, please contact us today or check if we’re connected to your address.

WonderNet brings affordable broadband internet to South African homes. We work alongside leading fibre network providers to maximise our reach and to offer fast, reliable and secure internet connectivity to your home. We are owned by SEACOM; one of Africa’s top information and communications technology (ICT) companies with an expansive network of subsea cables, landlines and fibre connections. WonderNet strives to offer the best customer service in the country. We will go above and beyond to ensure that our customers are satisfied with their internet access.

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