Internet speed in Sub-Saharan Africa is rising but its growth is sluggish. According to global broadband speed ranking by Cable.co.uk, the region is the second-slowest region in the world.
Of the 221 countries whose broadband speed was measured, Nigeria and several other Sub-Saharan countries ranked among the lower half of the table.
Nigeria ranked 186 globally in terms of broadband speed. Its mean average download speed is recorded at 3.34 Mbps (Megabits per second), and time taken to download a 5GB HD movie using the average speed was recorded as 3 hours 2minutes 16 seconds.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria ranked 30th with other tech hubs like South Africa (3rd), Kenya (4th) and Ghana (12th) ranking higher in the region
3 Sub-Saharan countries among Top 100
Going against the trend, the top 3 countries with highest broadband speed in Sub-Saharan Africa were among the Top 100 in the world. Madagascar with a mean average down load speed of 18.00Mbps was the highest ranked at 77th). Réunion follows closely with 16.35Mbps at 82nd, and South Africa barely made the cut with 14.04Mbps at 97th.
The top ranked countries in the world was dominated by European countries. Of the top 50 countries, 32 of them are in Europe. The fastest country in the world is Liechtenstein with 229.98Mbps followed by
Jersey (218.37Mbps) and Andorra (213.41Mbps).
Sub-Saharan countries dominate the bottom 10
While the fastest broadband countries clustered around Europe, most of the slowest countries are on the African continent. Of the bottom 10 ranked globally, 5 are from sub-Saharan Africa.
South Sudan is the worst with 0.58Mbps followed by Equatorial Guinea which ranked 218 with 0.75Mbps, and Ethiopia with 1.12Mbps at 214th. Somalia with 1.14Mbps is at 213th and Sudan with 1.35Mbps at 212th complete the bottom 5 in the region.
Northern Africa has the lowest overall internet speeds as a collective region, with all six qualifying countries in the bottom half of the table. Mauritania with 1.47Mbps recorded the slowest speed in 210th place, followed by Algeria (1.83Mbps, 204th), and Libya (2.60Mbps, 194th)
According to the report, the low broadband speed was because the countries in the region are larger and less developed.
It further explained that “the economy of Western Sahara suffers from geographical remoteness, drought and political turmoil, with agriculture its chief industry. It is vast. There is therefore arguably no pressing economic necessity for high-speed internet, while the cost of delivery would almost certainly exceed Western Sahara’s GDP.”
Global average broadband speed continues to rise
The global average speed is rising fast, the average recorded download speed for 2020 was 24.83Mbps. This is more than double the average of the previous year. The average speed measured in the period from 9 May 2018 to 8 May 2019 was 11.03Mbps.
The average global broadband speed measured during the period from 11 May 2016 to 10 May 2017 was 7.40Mbps. The average global broadband speed measured during the period from 30 May 2017 to 29 May 2018 was 9.10Mbps – a rise of 23.35%.
According to the report, an upgrade of the measurement platform skewed year-on-year speed tracking but assume that another rise of around 20% was recorded globally.
Although broadband is improving globally based on yearly increases in average global speed, the growth is not evenly distributed. On average, the top 100 countries on the table have gained 28.61Mbps while the bottom 100 on the table have gained an average of only 1.54Mbps.
With the increased deployment of 5G technology, the average broadband speed is on track to keep increasing. However, the increase may not reflect much in Africa due to the huge digital infrastructural gap.
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