The Digital 2023: South Africa study from DataPortal says that more than a quarter of the country’s people still can’t get online.
At the start of 2023, 72% of South Africa’s 43.48 million people were using the internet. There were about 25.8 million people who used social media. This was about 42.9% of the total population, which was 60 million.
Compared to the same time in 2022, 357,000 more people in the country use the internet.
In terms of speed, the average link speed for mobile internet over cellular networks was 36.70 Mbps. The middle speed for fixed lines was 40.12 Mbps.
Compared to 2022, the data shows that the average speed of a mobile internet connection in the country went up by 6.18 Mbps (20%) and that the average rate of a fixed internet connection went up by 10.39 Mbps (35%).
Elsewhere in southern Africa
53% of people in Namibia had internet access, meaning that 1.37 million people used the internet. This is 1.4% more than what it was in 2022. But internet speeds went down, falling 8.5% for mobile connections to 18.30 Mbps and 9.3% for fixed connections to 8.28 Mbps.
Zambia had 21% internet use or 4.3 million people who used the internet. Between 2022 and 2023, the number of Internet users in the country went up by 115,000, or 3%.
The country’s internet speeds grew dramatically, with mobile internet connection speeds increasing by 25% and fixed internet connection speeds increasing by 86%.
Zimbabwe had 5.74 million internet users in January 2023, representing a 35% internet penetration rate. This indicates an increase of 117,000 users (2%).
Internet speeds, on the other hand, revealed a mixed bag of results. The country’s mobile internet connection speed declined by 1.69 Mbps (13%), while fixed internet connection speeds climbed by 2.14 Mbps (34%).
Even though the numbers showed that most of the countries in the area were getting more people online, there is still a lot of work to bring the majority of people into the digital economy.
Even though there is still a lot of concern about closing the digital divide gap caused by unequal access to the internet, it is still essential that digital inclusion policies be implemented to speed up internet penetration in the area.