3 Things Affecting Internet Connectivity in South Africa

Loadshedding, cable theft and vandalism not only disrupts the supply of electricity and internet connectivity in households but also has a significant effect on the economy.

Criminals steal infrastructure such as copper cables and electrical equipment to make easy money and with each incident, thousands of homes are left without electricity for many hours or days. Businesses that have no access to generators have to close and unfortunately lose money as they cannot operate during that period.

Many small businesses have become heavily reliant on the internet to be able to conduct their business operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a disruption to internet connectivity due to cable theft and vandalism can place such businesses at a disadvantage.

“Copper line theft has a significant impact on connectivity, and it costs the telecommunications sectors millions of Rands every year. Data gathered by Openserve shows that more than 800 areas across SA have been identified as hotspot areas for cable theft and vandalism, where thousands of copper DSL customers are heavily affected. Copper line theft and damage has cost Openserve more than R60 million over the past year,” says Openserve CEO, Althon Beukes.


Cable thefts cause many parts of the economy to come to a standstill and it is expensive to replace such infrastructure. The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) estimates that cable theft costs the SA economy between R5 billion to R7 billion a year. As cable theft results in power outages, this affects traffic lights causing more congestion on the roads, street lights, telephone lines, and network.

If cable theft or vandalism occurs in your neighbourhood, you are now more likely to feel its effects than before as many of us work from home and need reliable power and internet connection.

Loadshedding

As load shedding occurs due to generation capacity, this means that you will often experience scheduled power cuts and your internet connection will be interrupted. Getting reconnected to your internet may be delayed once electricity returns as your device has to reconnect to the fibre network.

Much like cable theft, load shedding has a significant effect on the domestic economy as it disrupts business activity.

Unfortunately, loadshedding is a necessary process in order to meet the current electricity demand. As a result, you must check your load shedding schedule and plan. This includes charging your devices, meal planning and purchasing battery-powered lights.

Edited by Jenna Delport
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