South Africa ranks among the most technologically advanced countries in Africa with the highest number of Internet users. As such, approximately 60% of Internet traffic in continent Africa emanates from South Africa. The country is ranked 5th in Africa and 92nd worldwide for Internet usage by individuals. Similarly the country boasts the largest Internet economy on the African continent which essentially contributes 59 billion Rands to its GDP. Currently, the country has about 15 million Internet users; a 41% representative of the entire South African population.
The country had about 1.1 million fixed line Internet broadband subscribers and 12.7 million wireless Internet subscribers in 2012, a figure that has increased by 30% in 2013. Similarly, the number of individuals who have subscribed to mobile Internet broadband in South Africa is quite high with 26 out of every 100 individuals in the country using mobile phone Internet connections. The average Internet bandwidth in South Africa is approximately 2.32 Mbps - which is faster than the average Internet bandwidth in Africa which is about 1.6 Mbps.
The history of the Internet in South Africa goes back to 1988 when Rhodes University was granted an IP address. Three years later in 1991, the country’s initial Internet connection was established between Oregon, Randy Bush’s home in Portland and the Rhodes' computing centre. Later on in the same month, South African universities were able to connect to the Internet through UNINET. In June 1992, the Internet was opened for use by businesses and private individuals on a commercial level. Currently, most South Africans use the Internet to conduct academic and non-academic research, for socialization on social networking sites and to conduct online marketing.
Presently, the Internet connections in South Africa are through both cable and satellites means with most individuals preferring the use of cable Internet over satellite Internet due to its higher bandwidth, and fast download and upload rates in addition to the fact that cable Internet connections are rarely affected by technical hitches.