Akamai’s State of the Internet Report – How South Africa Compares

Akamai Technologies, a provider of cloud services for delivering, optimising and securing online content and business applications, recently released its Fourth Quarter, 2013 State of the Internet Report. akamai_soi_01

Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform™, the report provides insight into key global statistics such as network connectivity and connection speeds, attack traffic, broadband trends and availability, and IPv6 adoption.

For anyone with more than a passing interest in the internet, connectivity and world affairs, its findings aren’t particularly surprising – it’s well known that certain countries and regions enjoy superior connectivity and download speeds compared to the rest of the world.

South Korea is still Numero Uno – and by a long shot – when it comes to average connection speed. It’s 21.9 Mbps is way out in front of second-placed Japan, whose 12.8 Mbps leads a host of mainly European countries, with the United States rounding out the Top 10 with 10.0 Mbps.akamai_soi_02

Locally, South Africa is rocking & rolling with 2.3 Mbps whilst its 14% year-on-year increase is nothing to shout about either, firstly because other, faster countries have bigger increases, and the fact that SA doesn’t exactly have a high base level off which to grow either.

From this, one would surmise that the gap between SA & the rest of the world is only growing, hindered (or is that helped?) by our monopolies which hold sway locally.

As stated on the website ‘Balancing Act’

– South African telecoms and ISP markets have been fairly conservative in their approach. The bigger ISPs like Internet Solutions who might have made the move have clearly thought it was too high-risk and long-term and have remained focused on the more lucrative corporate market. The smaller ISPs have lacked the capital or an appetite for high risk. But that’s not the whole story by any means. The big gorillas  MTN, Vodacom and Telkom  have been content to offer bandwidth to individual users as if it was being rationed. There is no market on the continent where you can get so little bandwidth in quite so many different ways.

The difference between SA and the power players is further highlighted when comparing the percentages of countries with ‘Broadband (>4 Mbps) Connectivity’. As usual South Korea tops the global tables with 94%, the US has 75% and South Africa has…7.4%. Measuring the ‘high broadband threshold’, that figure drops to just 1.3%.

Ok, so it’s one thing to compare ourselves to the world-leaders but how about some more realistic competition. Seeing as we’re now a BRICS member, let’s take a look at how we compare to other countries with supposedly similar economic status when comparing which percentage of our online population has broadband (>4 Mbps) connectivity :

Brazil – 22%
Russia – 21%
India – 3.6%
China – 29%
SA – 7.4%

With the exception of India, it’s plain to see that we’re pretty well behind-the-game even compared to our ‘peers’.

As mentioned earlier though, none of this is particularly surprising. South African consumers have known for years that our internet lags the rest of the world’s rather badly. It’s just depressing to see how badly when internet reports like this are released. Let’s hope that seemingly positive recent headlines such as Vodacom’s Aggressive Fibre-to-the-Home Plans and 100Mbps MTN Fibre-to-the-Home Commercial Launch Announced actually signify something more than further service delivery rollouts which are as agonisingly slow as our connection speeds.

akamai_soi_03Other interesting findings gleaned from the report include the following:

– China maintained its position as the country that originated the most observed attack traffic, with quarter-over-quarter growth from 35% to 43%. It was followed by the United States at 19% (up from 11%) and Canada – which grew by 25 times quarter-over-quarter to 10%.

– South Africa has 6.8 million unique IP addresses.

– Average connection speeds on surveyed mobile network providers ranged from a high of 8.9 Mbps down to a low of 0.6 Mbps.

– The global average connection speed continued to improve, with a quarterly increase of 5.5%, reaching 3.8 Mbps.

 Akamai’s full State of the Internet Q4 2013 Report can be downloaded here.