News Release

Broadband Speeding Ahead as 'the Connected Life' Gains Momentum in South Africa

2010 Study Reveals Accessing the Internet via Broadband Has Steadily Grown
Apr 08, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 8, 2010 – Cisco and World Wide Worx announced recently that the number of South Africans accessing the Internet via broadband connections grew by more than 50 percent in the past year, a direct consequence of the growing need for round-the-clock connectivity. This is the key finding of the "Internet Access in South Africa 2010" study conducted by World Wide Worx in collaboration with Cisco. The final report from the study also reveals that wireless broadband has been growing almost three times as fast as fixed-line broadband in South Africa.

Highlights / Key Facts:

  • The study shows that most of the growth in fixed-line broadband comes from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) upgrading to ADSL. This has extended Internet access to more than a half-million South Africans working in small offices who did not previously have access.
  • Wireless broadband, on the other hand, is mainly a result of large companies providing 3G cards to employees who need to be connected whilst out of the office. This is further confirmed by separate research conducted recently by World Wide Worx into mobile technology usage*. The connected life allows workers to be productive, responsive and creative, in or out of their traditional office spaces. Remote or mobile workers can instantly access business essential applications, colleagues and partners worldwide, regardless of their location. This ability to collaborate and share information in real time will help increase business productivity and profitability across the region.
  • Wireless broadband subscriptions have grown by 88 per cent in the past year, against 21 per cent for ADSL. Corporate users have been the major driver of this growth through the deployment of 3G cards.
  • The study also reports on the current and expected impact of the new undersea cables, which have been making headlines recently. However, it also explores, for the first time, the impact of the roll-out of terrestrial fibre-optic networks across South Africa.
  • If all current cable projects come to fruition, by 2011, the total capacity of undersea cables connecting Africa to the rest of the world will have increased 150-fold since 2008. At the end of 2009, the capacity was 1 690 gigabits per second. At the end of 2010 it will be 5 410 Gbps, and a year later it will be 14 700 Gbps.
  • Undersea cables connect the country to the world, but the terrestrial fibre extends that connectivity into the major cities and towns, where businesses and consumers are connected in turn.
  • The availability of both fibre access and new licenses has sparked an 18 per cent increase in the number of Internet access and service providers in South Africa.
  • The study delves into the impact that Internet connectivity is having on South Africa, from increased access to government information services to new trends in entertainment and education. The convergence of formerly disparate voice, video and data services has provided a variety of rich new experiences for South Africans. The integration of broadcast TV, video on demand (VoD) and telephony services is just one example. From a data perspective, consumers are using the Internet to create blogs and personal Web pages with text, pictures and video. Today's consumers in South Africa have more options than ever before.

Executive Quotes:

  • Arthur Goldstuck, managing director, World Wide Worx
  • "Wireless broadband is more convenient and flexible, and it changes the way we think about where and how we use the Internet. The combination of new undersea cables and terrestrial fibre-optic networks means we are seeing the emergence of the next generation of connectivity technology, both in fixed-line and wireless services. The missing ingredients now are the next generation of customer access equipment for those who are connected, and affordable availability of access for those who are not."

  • Reshaad Sha, senior manager of Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), South Africa
  • "A mobile broadband connection is a key enabler of the Connected Life. Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group defines Connected Life services as those services that can be consumed anytime, anywhere, on any device and by anyone. The varied range of services and the demand that consumers have started placing on Internet-based application services has fuelled the uptake we see today. Internet access speeds do need to scale to meet the demands of applications and services, specifically those that are video enabled. The network build-outs we are seeing in South Africa are positive steps towards the delivery of feature-rich Internet services that most developed countries already enjoy."

Note to Editors:

* For more information on the World Wide Worx's Mobility research, visit World Wide Worx:

Links / URLs:

About World Wide Worx

World Wide Worx is South Africa's leading independent technology research and strategy organisation, with a focus on technology in business strategy. It offers a range of research and strategic services, surveys, benchmarks and reports intended to provide both industry intelligence and strategic insight into the hi-tech economy. Our core activities of market research, trends analysis, strategic analysis and strategy development provide a powerful platform on which to supply clients and the market with decision support and strategic direction.