Findings from a new survey out on Wednesday revealed that the number of South Africans accessing the Internet via broadband connections has increased by more than 50% in the past year.
The Internet Access in South Africa 2010 study, conducted by technology research and strategy organisation, World Wide Worx in collaboration with Cisco, found that wireless broadband has grown almost three times as fast as fixed line broadband in South Africa.
The study revealed that most of the growth in fixed line broadband comes from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) upgrading to ADSL. This in turn has extended Internet access to more than half-a-million South Africans working in small offices, who did not previously have access.
Wireless broadband subscriptions have grown by 88% in the past year, against 21% for ADSL, according to World Wide Worx, with corporate users the major driver of this growth, through the deployment of 3G cards.
The group noted that the ability to collaborate and share information in real-time would help to increase business productivity and profitability across the region.
The study also reported on the current and expected impact of the new undersea cables.
“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 over 2008. At the end of 2009, the capacity was 1 690 Gbps. At the end of 2010 it will be 5 410 Gbps, and a year later 14 770 Gbps,” World Wide Worx said.
The availability of both fibre access and new licences has also sparked an 18% increase in the number of internet access and service providers in South Africa, according to the study.
Arthur Goldstuck, managing director, World Wide Worx said: “Wireless broadband is neither cheaper nor better quality, but it 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,” he said. — I-Net Bridge