South African Internet usage has increased substantially since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.
This is according to several major ISPs who spoke to MyBroadband.
The lockdown means that many South Africans are stuck at home and have turned to the Internet to work remotely or get their dose of entertainment.
One of South Africa’s major Internet Exchange Point providers, NAPAfrica, recorded significant increases in data traffic since the lockdown was announced.
NAPAfrica’s peak traffic across all its exchange points eached a record 1.04Tbps the day after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of the lockdown.
On 25 March, the evening peak through NAPAfrica was over 1.1Tbps.
“We’ve seen a reasonable increase in video content consumption, but also saw an interesting increase in social media traffic,” NAPAfrica told MyBroadband..
Streaming the biggest contributor
Afrihost, Cybersmart, and Vox confirmed their customers’ overall data traffic had increased significantly during March.
Afrihost said it recorded a 44% increase in data usage across its network when compared to the average usage in January and February.
It noted that video streaming was the biggest contributor, and said peak usage periods were starting much earlier in the day and ending later.
Vox said it recorded a 50% increase in fibre-to-the-home traffic. Notably, its fibre-to-the-business traffic had not reduced that much, the ISP said.
This was due to the fact that many employees were using office VPNs to work from home, and this traffic was being routed through business connections.
Cybersmart said it had seen almost triple the streaming traffic throughout the day on its network.
It added that this usage may also be from conference calls and online video training.
Several ISPs also recorded a big spike in usage among individual users.
For March 2020, all three of Afrihost’s biggest data users increased their total usage over the previous month.
The individual usage figures were:
Cybersmart provided the monthly usage of its top five biggest users on its Lightspeed 500Mbps product.
Cool Ideas told MyBroadband that one of its biggest consumers had used the following in the month.
- Download – 35.45TB
- Upload – 3.84TB
- Total Usage – 39.3TB