Western Cape residents' internet behaviour revealed
4 February 2016
The average Western Cape resident spends more than 20% of their monthly income on connectivity.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, yesterday (4 February 2016) released comprehensive new research on the internet habits of the province’s residents.
The ground-breaking research was commissioned by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism. It was conducted by Research ICT Africa, in partnership with the Universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape.
In total, 2271 households and 3955 individuals across the province participated in the survey.
Minister Winde said apart from the province-wide survey, the study zoomed in on Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Saldanha Bay.
“This research now provides a baseline for us to track the effect of our broadband roll-out programme. We placed special attention on getting to grips with three of our most vibrant, yet previously under-served, areas so that we are able to see how access to broadband is changing lives and business opportunities for those residents.”
Minister Winde said the Western Cape Government’s Public WiFi programmes in Delft, Atlantis and along the Garden Route, had thus far connected 123 000 residents to the internet.
“Our survey found that 60.3% of residents are using their phones to search for health-related queries. We’ve been seeing shorter queues at our clinics, which suggests more residents are indeed turning to the internet for basic medical questions. This is saving them travel money and lost time at work. It’s also reducing demand on stretched government medical services.”
Minister Winde said South Africa's mobile services costs ranked amongst the highest in the world.
“Nationally, users spend 24.7% of their income on mobile services, which includes data and voice. In the Western Cape, the average is 20.1%. According to the International Telecommunication Union, anything above 5% is not affordable. This is why we have selected bringing broadband to residents as one of our game-changers.”
The survey found that the majority of residents, at 91.4%, used their mobile phones to connect to the internet.
ADSL was the least common way for people to connect. In Mitchells Plain, only 3.6% of users accessed the internet using ADSL. In Khayelitsha, this figure was 0.9%.
“We are investing R2.89 billion in the roll out of broadband to Western Cape residents. This year, 2 000 government sites, including schools, libraries and health facilities, will go live. Our goal is that every resident of this province has access to affordable internet.”
Key research findings include:
- In the Western Cape, 93.5% of the residents that use the internet are signed up for social media networks. This is compared to 75% nationally;
- Fifty-two percent of the individuals use their mobile phones to access educational materials; a further 50% to download applications;
- Of those with access to the internet, 66% of users said they watched TV or videos; 45.1% read magazines or newspapers and 41.7% have purchased goods online.