The recent release of the 2014 World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Information Technology (IT) report has confirmed a devastating decline in South Africa’s IT infrastructure and the skyrocketing costs of internet connectivity.
This is according to Wilmot James, the Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister of Trade and Industry, who released a statement lambasting the quality of Internet access in South Africa on Monday, 26 May 2014.
James said that although South Africa’s ranking has stabilised “or rather, stagnated” at 70 out of 148, there have been drastic declines in key rankings:
- Internet speed: 73/144, a 7 spot drop since 2013;
- Internet accessibility: 87/144, a 2 spot drop since 2013);
- Prepaid mobile cellular tariff: 128/144; and
- Fixed broadband internet tariff: 91/144.
“The high cost, lack of access and slow internet connectivity in South Africa is unquestionably hampering economic growth and job creation,” James said.
The World Bank has identified broadband connectivity as a key catalyst for economic growth with every 10% increase in connectivity enabling a 1.38% growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Global IT Report is not the first to indict South Africa’s internet connectivity.
Akamai’s recently released State of the Internet report for Q4 2013 showed that South Africa’s average connection speed was 2.3Mbps, well below the global 3.5Mbps average.
James said that it is imperative that South Africa reach the broadband standards of the top 10 countries in Akamai’s report which achieve speeds of between 6.6Mbps and 12.4Mbps, in order to stimulate economic growth and job creation.
“We urge Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, and the Minister of Telecommunications, Siyabonga Cwele, to prioritise this crucial economic resource and work together to ensure its improvement and expansion,” James said.