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By 14 January 2010 | Categories: news

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The number of South African internet users has finally passed the five million mark, breaking through the 10% mark of internet penetration for the county. This according to the Internet Access in South Africa 2010 study released today by World Wide Worx and jointly sponsored by Cisco.

The headline data shows that the Internet user base grew by 15% last year, from 4.6-million to 5.3-million, and is expected to grow at a similar rate in 2010. “The good news is that we will continue to see strong growth in 2010, and we should reach the 6-million mark by the end of the year,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx.

Growth in the number of Internet users in South Africa was relatively stagnant from 2002 to 2007, when it never rose above 7%. However, this rate almost doubled in 2008, and continued accelerating in 2009.

Although the landing of the SEACOM cable did have an impact on the figures, the granting of Electronic Communications Network Service licenses to more than 400 organisations was of greater significance. This meant that service providers that were previously required to buy their network access from one of the major providers, could now build their own networks or choose where they wanted to buy their access.

World Wide Worx found that a second key factor in growth over the past two years has been the continued uptake of broadband connectivity by small and medium enterprises migrating from dial-up connectivity. Each company moving from dial-up to ADSL, for example, extended Internet access to general office staff. This process was found to add an additional one to 20 new users to the Internet user base for every small business installing ADSL.

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