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South Africans enjoy highest quality digital experience

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Africa , 18 Aug 2020

South Africans have the highest quality of digital experience on the continent in terms of affordability, connection speeds and infrastructure.

This is according to a new report Digital Quality of Life Index 2020, released by digital connectivity company SurfSharks, focused on the quality of internet experiences globally.

The report ranks Kenya in 76th position, with Nigeria at 80 among countries with the least developed e-infrastructure.

In terms of affordability, Nigeria is the only African country (ranked 76th) that features among regional countries with the least affordable connectivity.

Nigeria and Algeria have also been evaluated to have the lowest and least stable internet connectivity in Africa, with global rankings of 80 and 76 respectively.

Other research reports and rankings show that Nigeria’s average internet speeds remain low at around 31.6 megabits per second, with the average mobile internet download speed at below the global average of 31.61 megabits per second in more than two years.

Experts say the COVID-19 pandemic “has deepened the reliance of every nation on the digital economy” but also highlight that the crisis “has exposed the lack of readiness in sub-Saharan Africa to provide inexpensive, reliable and abundant power” which is crucial for internet connectivity.

Power outages across most of Africa, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Nigeria, have resulted in telecommunications companies having to incur additional costs.

According to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index, Nigeria’s internet download speeds averaged 16.21 megabits per second in February this year.

South Africa is judged to have “the highest quality of digital life” in Africa according to the report. This puts it ahead of rival large African economies of Nigeria, Egypt and Angola. Other researchers, such as the UK’s Cable.co.uk, have also recently noted South Africa’s improvement in terms of broadband prices.

Cable.co.uk’s Worldwide Broadband Price Comparison recently noted South Africa moving up the rankings of countries with the most affordable internet connectivity, with the average monthly cost calculated at US$55.25.

“When it comes to internet affordability, South Africa ranks 34th. The Internet is more affordable in South Africa than in economically affluent countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar,” read a statement released by SurfSharks.

Techpoint reported that the quality of data in Africa has largely remained poor and the cost mostly unaffordable.

“Much of this has been due to a failure to convert high-speed Internet from the seas to end-users,” Techpoint explained.

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