Average time to download a movie? Depending on your download speed, of course, it might take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
It wasn’t too long ago, however, around the time flip-phones and Myspace were the craziest inventions of our time, that the best download speed available was an ADSL at 4Mbps.
We also had to choose between using the home phone and the Internet, because dial-up would only allow one at a time. Cue those battles at home with parents, and trying to lessen that robotic noise that rung out around the house at ungodly hours.
A decade later and we’re all online all the time, getting easily frustrated when it takes more than five seconds for a video to start streaming. Oh, how far we have come.
So where did it all start? Looking back nearly two decades, here’s a little history on how the Internet first arrived in SA via MyBroadband:
The Internet in South Africa can be tracked back to Rhodes University in 1988, when three pioneers – Francois Jacot Guilarmod, Dave Wilson and Mike Lawrie – established an email link to the Internet.
The email link used the Fidonet mailing system as a transport mechanism to exchange email between the Control Data Cyber computer at Rhodes University and a Fidonet gateway run by Randy Bush of Portland, Oregon.
Towards the end of 1991 the uucp dialup link was replaced with a full Internet connection that operated across a leased line at 9,600bps.
In 1997, 56kbps dial-up connections started to gain popularity, with products like the ‘Big Black Box’ attracting many new subscribers:
The broadband era arrived in South Africa in 2002 when Telkom launched its first commercial ADSL product, offering download speeds of 512kbps.
Wireless broadband services emerged in South Africa in 2004, with Sentech MyWireless, iBurst and Vodacom 3G offering speeds of between 128kbps and 1Mbps.
Over the last decade, a number of new services have launched in the country. Today South Africans can enjoy fixed and wireless broadband speeds exceeding 100Mbps.
Here’s an infographic detailing the history of download speeds from 1991 through to 2014:
As Internet speeds increase and more South Africans get connected, we’ll see prices come down and development increase.
Here’s to a better connected and better equipped South Africa.
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