Increased Internet Traffic In SA

Increased internet traffic in South Africa in the “new normal”

On the 23rd of March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster to address the spread of the novel Coronavirus. With most of the nation confined to their homes, work, school, university, hobbies and social gatherings moved online – and the internet traffic in South Africa climbed substantially.

In the days following the announcement, internet traffic in South Africa climbed to incredible heights. As a result, NAPAfrica asked ISPs that were operating at a capacity of 50% or higher, to upgrade their capacity as the internet played a vital role during this challenging time in our country and internet users start to experience slower speeds and unreliability at around 80% capacity.

With many other countries going into lockdown, similar trends followed worldwide:
  • SEACOM, which operates one of South Africa’s major undersea fibre cables, said it has seen a 15% increase in internet traffic across its network.
  • In lockdown, Netflix traffic increased by 32% compared to higher usage days in the past.
  • Video platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube reduced the quality of their video streams in Europe to help networks cope with the increased demand.
  • Facebook revealed that it has seen voice and video messaging more than double on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger.
  • In Italy, group calling increased by over 1000%

2020 came and went, and while some activities returned to normal, the demand for internet remains high as many businesses, universities, and schools are still operating remotely, depending on their home internet access to keep them connected around the clock.

The most recent announcement of delaying the opening of schools by another two weeks, will continue the trend of an increased demand for reliable internet, as parents will be working, and children will be learning, from home once again in the weeks to come.