SA Internet speeds rank low PDF Print E-mail

South Africa is lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of its Internet download speeds, according to a report that ranks the nation at 105 out of 174 countries.

The Net Index Household Download Index, based on millions of test results from Speedtest.net and compiled by broadband testing and Web-based network diagnostics company Ookla, compares consumer download speeds from around the globe. The company put together its latest ranking from tests conducted this year between 18 February and 18 March.

According to the index, SA has an average download speed of 2.97Mbps, a figure that is dwarfed by Lithuania and South Korea, which respectively top the list at 31.77Mbps and 27.94Mbps.
 
Meanwhile, the index further indicates that SA ranks sixth in Africa, behind Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Angola and Zimbabwe, in terms of download speeds. The Net Index report also says Ghana has the fastest Internet download speeds on the continent, at 5.64Mbps.
 
Alan Levin, chairman of Internet Society SA, says Telkom's monopoly on the country's fixed-line telecoms sector, which was only broken in 2008, and the government's inability to make internationally competitive broadband infrastructure a priority are reasons for the country's poor ranking.
 
However, Levin also says the Net Index list needs to be viewed in context, as SA's reportedly slow Internet speeds could be due to more South Africans having access to the Web, as compared to a nation such as Ghana.
 
According to the Net Index report, Ghana's 68th placed global ranking was obtained as a result of 220 490 total tests done from 36 082 unique Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in the country, of which 13 005 have been used for the current index. On the other hand, SA's 105th placed global ranking was obtained as a result of 4 610 724 total tests, from 1 307 962 unique IPs, of which 285 216 have been used for the current Index.
 
The Net Index list, though, does show SA has more Internet service providers and accessibility to the Web from more places compared to Ghana. SA's fastest Internet download speed, for example, has been recorded at the Cape Technikon at 34.41Mbps, while the country has had its speed-tests reported in 42 cities and towns. Ghana only has three Internet service providers, according to Net Index, and that country's speed-test results were only recorded in one city, Accra.
 
Levin says SA might rank low in terms of download speed, but accessing the Internet in even remote rural areas in SA is possible, thanks to the country's wide telecommunications network.
 
“Those speed tests are performed on every type of connection available; so you might have a very slow GPRS connection, you might have dial-up connections,” Levin said. “In SA the speeds are much lower because there are much more people in different places doing speed tests.”
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