Communication plays an important role in the fundamental operation of a society. It links people and businesses, facilitating communication and the flow of ideas and information and coordinating economic activities and development.
The General Household Survey indicates that 64.7% of South African households had at least one member who had access to, or used the Internet either at home, work, place of study or Internet cafés. Access to the Internet using all available means was highest in Gauteng (74.6%), Western Cape (72.4%) and Mpumalanga (70.2%), and lowest in Limpopo (46.2%) and Eastern Cape (55.3%).
Marginally over one-tenth (10.4%) of South African households had access to the Internet at home. Access to the Internet at home was highest among households in Western Cape (25.8%) and Gauteng (16.7%), and lowest in Limpopo (1.7%) and North West (3.0%). While 17.3% of households in metropolitan areas had access to the Internet at home, this was true for only 1.7% of rural households in general and less than one per cent of rural households in North West (0.8%) and Limpopo (0.6%).
Households were generally more likely to have access to the Internet at work than at home or at Internet cafés or at educational institutions. Households in Gauteng and Western Cape were most likely to access the Internet at work while those in Limpopo were least likely to do so.
Using mobile devices to access the Internet includes access to cellular telephones or using mobile access devices such as 3G cards. Mobile access to the Internet has made it much more accessible to households in rural areas. Nationally, Internet access using mobile devices (60.1%) was much more common than access at home (10.4%), at work (16.2%) and elsewhere (10.1%). Although the use of mobile Internet access devices in rural areas (45.0%) still lags behind its use in metros (67.5%) and urban areas (63.7%), it is much more common in rural areas than any of the alternative methods.
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