New research suggests the number of South Africans using the Internet via broadband connections has leapt 50% in the past year, thanks mainly to fast adoption of wireless broadband technologies.
According to World Wide Worx’s Internet Access in SA 2010 study, released on Wednesday, the growth in the use of wireless broadband is mainly a result of large companies giving 3G cards to employees who need to be connected when not at the office.
Wireless broadband subscriptions have grown 88% in the past year, against 21% growth for fixed-line asymmetric digital subscriber lines (ADSL). “Corporate users have been the major driver of this growth, through the deployment of 3G cards,” according to the research.
The country now has about 930 000 wireless broadband users compared with 630 000 ADSL users. And the growth should continue, with World Wide Worx predicting there’ll be almost 11m South Africans online by 2015.
Another key finding of the research is that the growth in fixed-line broadband comes mainly from small and medium enterprises upgrading to ADSL. “This has extended Internet access to more than 500 000 South Africans working in small offices, who did not previously have access.”
The study also reports on the impact of the raft of new submarine cables that are being built. “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,” says World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck (pictured).
“The missing ingredients now are the emergence of the next generation of customer access equipment for those who are connected, and affordable availability of access for those who are not.”
The World Wide Worx study was conducted with the support of networking company Cisco. — Staff reporter, TechCentral