Analysing South Africa’s Internet Performance 2022

Access to affordable, fast and reliable mobile and fixed-line broadband connectivity has been a significant issue among developing nations for the past decade-and-a-half. Currently, with the global shift to data-driven economies, the need for widespread broadband access, critical to economic growth, job creation, and social inclusion, has never been higher. However, in South Africa, although national broadband coverage is well over 90%, the geographic disparities in broadband infrastructure investment and deployment have led to unequal access to Internet services and uneven performance of these services across the country. While supply-side challenges involve implementing the latest mobile technologies, demand-side barriers prevent potential users from using services. Even if they do become available, due to high mobile and data prices, fundamental inequities persist in people’s ability to access Internet services.

A digital infrastructure that is universally accessible and offers adequate Internet speeds at an affordable price is necessary to reap the full economic and social benefits of modern data services (The World Bank, 2012). Nonetheless, the significant inequalities evident between high and low-income countries regarding broadband connectivity highlight the need to address all three aspects of broadband access holistically – availability, affordability, and capacity – to close the digital gap (Broadband Commission, 2020).

This policy paper explores and analyses mobile and fixed-broadband Internet network performance in South Africa using Ookla’s network performance rankings for Q2-2022. The brief is the first one to be released in a series of eight that will be undertaken in countries in which the African After Access survey is being undertaken, with the aim of enabling and informing public policy formulation, enforcement and innovation in those countries and in Africa more generally.

Suggested citation

Omar, N. (2022). Analysing South Africa’s internet performance 2022. Digital New Deal Project Policy Brief no. 7. Research ICT Africa.