South Africa broadband vs the world

South Africa has gained a few levels in the United Nations’ global broadband rankings, climbing to 80th place in the organisation’s latest annual report.

The latest report, which measures the penetration rates of fixed and mobile broadband in over 190 countries, shows that in 2014, 48.9% of South Africans had access to the Internet, up from 41% (92nd) in 2013.

Across the developing nations, this places South Africa 37th, up from 44th a year ago.

In terms of fixed broadband penetration, South Africa also improved, climbing from 2.2% (111th) in the 2013 report, to 3.1% penetration (106th) in 2014.

Mobile broadband penetration rates for South Africa were not tracked in the 2014 report. In 2013, the figure was at 26%, ranked 62nd overall.

South Africa

Category Rank %
% Internet users (Developing) 34 48.9%
% Internet users (Global) 80 48.9%
Fixed broadband penetration rate 106 3.1%
Mobile broadband penetration rate n/a n/a

The UN commended South Africa’s broadband policy – South Africa Connect – calling it an “excellent example of a policy which focuses on both supply-side and demand-side considerations”.

However, the report emphasised that the real drive should be behind implementation and moving from plans to action.

The South Africa Connect policy aims to create an enabling environment for investment in the roll-out of broadband infrastructure and for the production of content, applications and services to drive demand in the country.

A universal average download speed of 100 Mbps by 2030 has been set, while progressive targets have also been set for an average user experience speed of 5 Mbps to be available to 50% of the population by 2016, and to 90% by 2020.

Quality of service and prices are to be monitored by the regulator, Icasa.

“The price of broadband access is critical in expanding access to broadband in developing countries,” the UN said, noting that broadband is becoming more affordable around the world.

However, huge discrepancies in affordability persist in developing countries, where access can account for as much as 32.2% of average monthly incomes – compared with just 1.5% in developed countries.

Global broadband

If you want proper broadband access, Europe is the place to be, with the continent having the highest internet penetration rate across the world.

The top 10 countries by Internet users are all in Europe, with Iceland taking top spot with a penetration rate of 96.5%.

Entrea – an East African nation – has the worst Internet penetration rate in the world, where only 0.9% of its over 6 million citizens have access to the Internet.

Top 10 countries by % of individuals using the Internet

# Country Penetration rate (%)
1 Iceland 96.5
2 Norway 95.1
3 Sweden 94.8
4 Denmark 94.6
5 Andorra 94.0
6 Netherlands 94.0
7 Liechtenstein 93.8
8 Luxembourg 93.8
9 Finland 91.5
10 Monaco 90.7

Top 10 countries by % of households using the Internet

# Country Penetration rate (%)
1 Korea (Republic) 98.1
2 Qatar 96.4
3 Singapore 86.0
4 Macao, China 82.6
5 Bahrain 82.0
6 Oman 80.1
7 Hong Kong, China 79.9
8 United Arab Emirates 76.1
9 Brunei Darussalam 75.8
10 Saudi Arabia 72.7

According to the report, fixed broadband penetration is also highest in Europe, led by Monaco which has a penetration rate of 44.7%.

Switzerland (2nd) follows with a rate of 43%, with Denmark (40.2%), the Netherlands (40.1%) and France (38.8%) completing the top 5.

Top 10 countries by fixed broadband penetration

# Country Penetration rate (%)
1 Monaco 44.7
2 Switzerland 43.0
3 Denmark 40.2
4 Netherlands 40.1
5 France 38.8
6 Korea (Republic) 38.0
7 Norway 36.4
8 United Kingdoms 35.7
9 Iceland 35.1
10 Germany 34.6

Mobile penetration is strongest in Singapore, where penetration rate of 135.1% leads the globe. The top 8 countries for mobile penetration are all over 100%

Mobile broadband is yet to make a mark in nations such as Cuba, Algeria, Chad and Cameroon, according to the UN.

Top 10 countries by mobile broadband penetration

# Country Penetration rate (%)
1 Singapore 135.1
2 Finland 123.5
3 Japan 120.5
4 Australia 110.5
5 Bharain 109.7
6 Sweden 108.7
7 Denmark 107.3
8 Korea (Republic) 105.3
9 Hong Kong 95.4
10 United States 92.8

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South Africa broadband vs the world