South African Internet speeds vs the World

South Africa’s Internet speeds rank 90th out of 224 countries, according to Cable.co.uk’s latest Worldwide Broadband Speed League report.

The data was gathered by M-Lab, an open source project with contributors from civil society organisations, educational institutions, and private sector companies.

M-Lab is led by teams based at Code for Science and Society, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Google, and Princeton University’s PlanetLab.

The study analysed over 1.1 billion broadband speed tests worldwide.

Western Europe dominated the global speed table, containing eight of the top ten fastest countries in the world for broadband.

The self-governing dependency of Jersey boasts the fastest broadband in the world with an average speed of 274.27Mbps.

Macau (128.56Mbps) and Hungary (104.07Mbps) were the only two states in the top ten outside Western Europe.

Countries in Northern Africa had the slowest average speed globally (5.68Mbps), while Western European nations had the highest average speed (90.56Mbps).

(Click to enlarge)

The five countries in the world with the slowest network speeds were Turkmenistan (0.50Mbps), Yemen (0.68Mbps), Ethiopia (1.20), Guinea-Bissau (1.24Mbps), and Equatorial Guinea (1.30Mbps).

Three of the bottom five are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. The researchers said that all of these countries suffer from underdeveloped network infrastructure and low uptake of digital services among their populations.

“The acceleration of the fastest countries in the world has finally plateaued this year as they reach FTTP pure fibre saturation,” said Cable.co.uk consumer telecoms analyst Dan Howdle.

“Increases in speed among the elite performers, then, can be attributed in greater part to uptake in many cases than to network upgrades.”

Howdle said that although the countries occupying the bottom end of the table still suffer from extremely poor speeds, 2021’s data indicates that the situation is improving.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa
Overall rank Country Mean download speed (Mbps)
50 Réunion 43.62
90 South Africa 19.94
105 Madagascar 16.28
120 Republic of the Congo 12.07
121 Seychelles 12.04
126 Kenya 11.27
128 Burkina Faso 10.73
136 Cote D’Ivoire 9.54
139 Ghana 9.23
142 Nigeria 8.68
144 United Republic of Tanzania 8.60
145 Mauritius 8.53
146 Uganda 8.52
148 Lesotho 8.46
149 Cape Verde 7.94
150 Zimbabwe 7.92
151 Mayotte 7.70
158 Mozambique 7.17
161 Senegal 7.02
169 Rwanda 6.29
172 Angola 5.88
176 Zambia 5.48
178 Liberia 5.23
180 Gabon 4.99
181 Malawi 4.96
183 Mali 4.72
185 Namibia 4.42
186 Comoros 3.99
187 Eswatini 3.73
189 Botswana 3.65
191 DR Congo 3.63
192 Togo 3.54
193 Niger 3.23
195 Cameroon 3.04
200 Burundi 2.82
202 Benin 2.59
204 São Tomé and Príncipe 2.43
205 Eritrea 2.41
206 Guinea 2.39
207 Chad 2.39
208 Sierra Leone 2.19
210 Gambia 2.04
212 Sudan 1.80
215 Somalia 1.59
216 Djibouti 1.46
218 South Sudan 1.40
220 Equatorial Guinea 1.30
221 Guinea-Bissau 1.24
222 Ethiopia 1.2

The study measured 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the second-slowest region on average (6.56Mbps).

Of the countries measured in the region, 46 were in the lowest 50% of countries in the league table.

Going against the trend somewhat were Réunion, South Africa, and Madagascar.

Six Sub-Saharan countries fell in the bottom ten countries in the world for broadband speed: Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan, Djibouti, and Somalia.

Global broadband speeds — South Africa vs the world

The study found that the global average broadband speed continues to rise sharply.

Comparing their 2021 results to previous years, the researchers found that broadband speeds rose by an average of 20% around the world in the past year.

Since 2017, the average broadband speed has increased as follows:

  • 2017 — 7.40Mbps
  • 2018 — 9.10Mbps (+23.35%)
  • 2019 — 11.03Mbps (+20.65%)
  • 2020 — 24.83Mbps (+90%)
  • 2021 — 29.79Mbps (+20%)

The researchers noted that the big jump in 2020 can be attributed to upgraded measurement tools.

South Africa is slowly clawing back up the rankings after seeing a sudden drop from 75th to 97th place in 2020.

Worldwide Broadband Speed League — 2021
Rank Country Mean download speed (Mbps)
1 Jersey 274.27
2 Liechtenstein 211.26
3 Iceland 191.83
4 Andorra 164.66
5 Gibraltar 151.34
88 Grenada 20.49
89 Curaçao 20.18
90 South Africa 19.94
91 Martinique 19.88
92 Belarus 19.86
220 Equatorial Guinea 1.30
221 Guinea-Bissau 1.24
222 Ethiopia 1.20
223 Yemen 0.68
224 Turkmenistan 0.50

Now read: The biggest loser — South Africa’s cellphone network users

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South African Internet speeds vs the World