While Internet connectivity is on a steady rise in South Africa, the nation is still far behind the other countries that make up the BRICS nations. South Africa’s Internet penetration is currently at 13.9%, according to a study done by Analytix Business Intelligence (ABI), and the closest nation in relation to Internet penetration is China with 38.3%.
While India is the only BRICS country below SA with 10.2%, it equates to 121-million citizens, which is far more than South Africa’s 6.8-million connected users.
“It is predicted that Internet user numbers are set to double in emerging countries within the next few years. However, in South Africa this can only be realised if the costs of Internet and especially mobile Internet come down, and operators expand their networks to reach those currently excluded from the Internet,” said ABI.
To make matters worse, SA also has some of the lowest Internet speeds across the globe, with China taking up a leadership position amongst BRICS countries. However, more young adults are accesssing the Internet now, compared to the situation in 2007.
“The increase in Internet use has been strongly driven by younger South Africans between the ages of 16-29 years and those who live in ‘middle class’ households,” Analytix said.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor