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30 years of internet in South Africa

This year marks the 30th birthday of the Internet in South Africa, which has come a long way since the first connection was made in 1991.

Even though South Africa's first Internet Protocol (IP) address was established in 1988, it was only on November 12, 1991, that the first IP connection was made. Therefore, November 12, 1991, is regarded as the start of internet access in South Africa.

Here is a brief overview of how the Internet changed in South Africa over the past 30 years:

1980s to 1990s

  • 1988 - The first South African IP address was granted to Rhodes University.
  • 1990 - The address is granted to South Africa.
  • 1991 - The first IP connection is established between the Rhodes University computer lab and the home of Internet Hall of Fame inductee and scientist Randy Bush in Portland, Oregon, US.
  • 1992 - Internet access for businesses and private use began with the registration of the first domain.

Early 2000’s

  • 2000 - South Africa internet users grow to 2.4 million.
  • 2002 - 256Kbps and 512Kbps ADSL packages launched.
  • 2005 - 1Mbps ADSL launched.
  • 2006 - 4Mbps ADSL introduced.
  • 2008 - Internet users in South Africa grow to 5 million (double what it was in 2000).
  • 2009 - 8 and 12Mbps ADSL packages offered.


  • 2012 - There are 12.3 million active Internet users in South Africa, with broadband access more than doubling since 2010.
  • 2013 - Fixed-line speeds on offer range between 2Mbps to 40Mbps
  • 2014
    -Average download speed of fixed-line connections is 3Mbps.
    -First Fibre-to-the-home package is offered with speeds up to 100Mbps.
  • 2015 - SA reaches over 28 million internet users
  • 2016 - 52% of the country are now active users of the internet spending 3 hours a day on it.


  • 38.19 million internet users in South Africa as of January 2021
  • 64% of South Africa’s population has access to the Internet
  • The number of internet users in South Africa increased by 1.6 million (+4.5%) between 2020 and 2021.
  • South Africans spend an average of 10 hours a day on the Internet - up more than 300% the increase compared to 2016.
  • The average download speed of fixed-line connections is 38Mbps (12.6 times faster than in 2014)
  • Most South Africans use Chrome (67.6%) to access the Internet.
  • Top visited websites in South Africa:
    -Google, YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia and News24
  • Prices have been drastically reduced
    -50Mbps Fibre line was R3 298pm in 2014 and today it will only cost you R845pm
    (74% less).
    -100Mbps Fibre line was R6 599 in 2014 and today it will only cost you R989pm (85%

Article by
Conrad d

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