Today the internet is an everyday norm in South Africa. But, have you ever wondered where it all started?
The first-ever internet connection in South Africa was dial-up email link in 1988. The link was made between Rhodes University in Grahamstown and a private home in Portland, Oregon, United States of America. There were three people involved in the groundbreaking project, Jacot Guillarmod, Dave Wilson and Mike Lawrie. The home in the US that the connection was made to was that of Randy Bush.
In 1989 Rhodes University started using the email link was used for communication within the campus. About a year later other South African universities such as University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of Natal, Durban (UND) started using email communications.
However, this form of communication was not done through the internet as we know it today but rather a dialup link between two or more computers. The dialup internet link was replaced with a full Internet connection in 1991 and worked at speeds of 9,600 bps.
At this point, the internet was mostly used by universities but things quickly changed in 1993 when commercial internet service providers saw the potential of the internet. In 1997, 56 kps dial-up connections. This is when commercial and residential internet really started taking off.
During 1999 cell phone networks started supporting GPRS 56kbps connections and a year later EDGE was launched and this gave speeds of up to 244 kbps. In 2004 a 384 kbps 3G connection was introduced. Each year from this point, many internet service providers joined the race to provide the fastest internet connection such as ISDN, ADSL 4G, Fibre, etc…
Currently, fibre connections are in the lead with speeds up to 350 Mbps!
We have certainly come a long way from the first speeds of 9600 bps…