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South Africa’s Internet Landscape: A Soaring climb in Speed but a Steep hike in Prices

Published September 23, 2023
9 months ago

Surfshark's recent Digital Quality of Life (DQL) Index offers insight into South Africa's complex digital landscape with noteworthy improvements and challenges. The most significant shift seen over the past year is a 30% increase in average internet speeds, reaching an admirable 70Mbps for fixed internet and 68Mbps for mobile data. However, these advancements are counterbalanced by price surges that have affected affordability, causing South Africa to drop places in global rankings.



Despite these challenges, South Africa’s DQL Index score of 0.44 still places it 72nd globally and maintains the country's leading position in Africa. The annual index, compiled by the virtual private network (VPN) service provider, assesses 14 key indicators of digital well-being, parallelly comparing 121 countries representing 92% of the world population. The assessment extends to dimensions of Internet Affordability, Internet Quality, Electronic Infrastructure, Electronic Security, and Electronic Government.


The 2023 DQL Index found that France achieved the highest score of 0.79, climbing up from the third position in 2022. Contrarily, South Africa’s rank slipped six places to its current 72nd place overall, despite outperforming countries such as Kenya (76th) and Nigeria (88th).


South Africa’s best rank was in the pricing category, standing 52nd worldwide, significantly dropping from 39th in 2022 and 26th in 2021. This detrimental shift was attributed to global fixed and mobile internet becoming markedly more affordable as compared to the previous years.



Maintaining quality despite affordability challenges, South African internet delivered a 30% speed increase. Notwithstanding these improvements, South Africa fell one rank in the Internet quality rating category as global speeds also enhanced.


Furthermore, the country continues to face challenges in cyber-security, infrastructure, and e-Government, showing a need for more effective cybercrime measures, data protection laws, and network readiness measures.


In conclusion, South Africa’s internet landscape demonstrates noteworthy progress paired with significant challenges, particularly in affordability, making way for an intricate and evolving digital future.


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