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Nigeria, others experienced largest drops in broadband speeds during COVID-19 lockdowns

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Global broadband speeds plummeted after governments across the globe imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19.This is according to this week’s report by Cable.co.uk, which compared average Internet speeds in 114 countries, including South Africa, during and outside of their most stringent COVID-19 lockdown periods.

Analysts at Cable.co.uk measured, per country, speeds both during and outside of the most stringent lockdown measures falling between 1 January and 30 June.

In the 114 countries that instituted such lockdowns, speeds dropped by an average of -6.31%, says the firm.

Commenting on the findings, Dan Howdle, the consumer telecoms analyst in charge of the study at Cable.co.uk, says: “The results are startling. Although an overall drop of just -6.31% across all countries doesn’t sound like an awful lot, this figure moves very much against the tide.

“Our annual global broadband speed tracker has demonstrated global increases of around 20% year-on-year since 2017.”

Cable says in Sub-Saharan Africa, 13 of the 14 qualifying countries recorded drops in measured Internet speeds during their lockdown periods, with an average decrease of -14.24%.

SA’s Internet speeds dropped -5.48%, the report says. However, it says Angola bucked the trend in the region, showing a surprising increase of +117.19% during its lockdown period.

Meanwhile, Madagascar (-37.71%), Cote d’Ivoire (-30.77%), Ghana (-24.58%) and Nigeria (-20.84%) experienced the largest drops in measured speeds during their respective lockdowns.

It adds that Northern Africa recorded the second-highest overall drop in Internet speeds during lockdown periods, with all five qualifying countries in minus figures.

Libya (-27.38%) recorded the largest drop, followed by Tunisia (-23.23%), Morocco (-18.72%), and Algeria (-13.76%). Egypt’s Internet speeds experienced the smallest drop at -5.96%.

According to the study, the region where speeds dropped by the greatest percentage overall was Central America, with an average drop of -26.03% during its combined lockdown periods.

Only one of the six countries qualifying in this region experienced a rise (Costa Rica at +0.82%). Meanwhile, Panama (-48.99%), Guatemala (-14.30%), Honduras (-3.69%), Mexico (-2.35%) and El Salvador (-0.01%) all experienced drops in speed of varying severity.


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COVID-19Dan Howdle
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