Comparisons to international broadband uptake reveal that South Africa falls behind on a daily basis.
South Korea is currently leading the world regarding broadband uptake with 24,9% of the population in possession of a broadband connection.
The United Kingdom and Australia are floating around in the middle with 10,5% and 7,7% respectively.
In comparison, only 0,002% of South Africans have broadband connections.
While Telkom signed up 17 000 new users since their price reductions in March, there were over 200 000 new broadband subscribers in Australia during the same period.
The UK signed up more than 700 000 new subscribers during this time.
With the current take-up rate it will take South Africa nearly 50 years to reach the same penetration percentage as that of Australia.
The forum believes that the exorbitant cost of ADSL access in South Africa remains the major stumbling block for faster broadband growth with the price of broadband falling outside the general income earners' pocket.
A standard 512 ADSL service in South Africa costs more than 50% of the average income of a South African, it elaborates.
It is not surprising that 85% of broadband users described Telkom's net profit of R6,8-billion as 'bad news for SA consumers' in a recent website poll on MyADSL.
President Mbeki described these exorbitant prices as unacceptable in his state of the nation address in February.
This has not improved much in 2005, MyAdSL alleges.
While Telkom announced two ADSL price reductions this year, they remain considerably more expensive than other countries and their broadband offerings are still too expensive for the average South African.
These ADSL connections are also far slower than the international offerings.
The effect of this exorbitant pricing is felt by industry.
Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri has pointed out that the sluggish uptake of broadband in South Africa is hurting our economy by prohibiting some significant international investments.
“Broadband Internet uptake is far too important for South Africa to be left in the hands of a monopoly”, adds the forum.
Edited by: Nicola Mawson
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