November 12 marks the 25th 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.
Later that month, SA universities were connected to the internet with personal and business use for the web beginning in 1992.
Fast-forward a quarter-century and over 28.5 million people, or 52% of the country, are now active users of the internet spending three hours a day on it.
1988 – The first South African IP address was granted to Rhodes University.
1990 – The .za address is granted to South Africa by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).
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 in June with the registration of the first .co.za domain.
1997 – The ANC launched its website – anc.org.za as one of the first African political organisations to establish a website.
2000 – South Africa internet users grow to 2.4 million.
2002 – Telkom launches 512 and 256Kbps ADSL packages.
2004 – Facebook launches in the US and reaches 14 million users in 2006.
2005 – Telkom launches a 1Mbps offering.
2006 – Telkom offers 4Mbps package.
2008 – Internet users in South Africa grow to 5 million; Netoel launches broadband service.
2009 – Telkom offer 8 and 12Mbps packages.
2010 – Facebook reaches 5.3 million Facebook users according to World Wide Worx research.
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 – Mobile networks see voice revenues decline for the first time in their histories as younger users lead the consumer charge into a new data economy.
2015 – SA reaches over 28 million internet users.
2016 – South Africa online retail reaches 1%, passing the R7.5bn mark of overall retail during 2016 according to World Wide Worx.