Johannesburg performed well across the five cities we looked at in terms of median download and upload speeds, a report by speed test service Ookla revealed on Wednesday.

Ookla said download speeds in Johannesburg ranged from 25.53 Mbps to 51.49 Mbps, while in Port Elizabeth, speeds were much lower, ranging from 6.36 Mbps to 30.11 Mbps.

“Typically fibre networks first reach rich and affluent communities that present a fertile ground for their services. For example, a northern suburb of Johannesburg–Parkhurst–was Vumatel’s first suburb.”

Ookla added that across the nine South African provinces, Gauteng is the smallest by land mass, but it’s also the most populous and wealthiest province, home to the country’s largest city, Johannesburg.

“Given the population and economics of the province, it’s perhaps no surprise that Gauteng had the best median fixed broadband download and upload speeds at 38.47 Mbps and 27.92 Mbps, respectively,” said Ookla.

“Gauteng’s leading speeds are due to several operators posting median download speeds faster than 40 Mbps, such as Afrihost, Axxess, Cool Ideas, Vox Telecom, and Webafrica.

Northern Cape, on the other hand, the largest but most sparsely populated province in South Africa, was home to a median download speed three times lower than the country’s average of 31.34 Mbps.



More is needed to improve fixed networks performance and adoption

Increasing download speeds require more investment in broadband infrastructure from ISPs and FNOs, but most importantly, there is a need for the reliable underlying infrastructure, said Ookla.

Several undersea cables landed in South Africa, including WACS, EASSy, Seacom, SAT3/SAFE, and SACS, with the Equanio and 2Africa cables coming online soon, which helps increase network capacity.

“However, operators are also facing issues related to infrastructure reliability and availability, such as load shedding (rolling power outages). Affordability is another matter that needs to be addressed,” Ookla said.

“We will continue to monitor network performance in South Africa to see what effect the fiber race will have on fixed broadband speeds. If you’d like to learn more about internet speeds and performance in other markets around the world, visit the Speedtest Global Index.”

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