Household internet access in the GCR

In order to understand from a spatial perspective the proportion of households in the GCR that mainly gain access to the internet at home or via their cellphone, the Stats SA Census 2011 data were used to map access per Small Area Layer (SAL). The SAL boundaries are derived by merging the Census enumerator area boundaries for South Africa. Using the question: “How does this household mainly access the internet?” (a single mention question only and thereefore multiple access was not determined), the total number of households that gained access to the internet was generated as a table and joined to the SAL boundaries.

In Gauteng, 54% of all respondents in the 2011 Census indicated that they do not have access to the internet. Of the respondents who indicated that they do have access to the internet, 38% gained access on their cellphone and only 27% gained access the internet at home. There are large differences between households with access to the internet at home and via cellphone and the spatial spread of household access illustrates interesting dynamics across the GCR. Internet access at home typically follows spatial patterns associated with apartheid planning, with access being largely located within the urban core. Predictably, in Sandton there is a higher percentage of households who access internet at home than on their cellphones.The cellphone seems however to be something of an equaliser and a democratic tool, as it represents more inclusive access and a blurring of old planning divides. This is evident in Soweto where there is a low percentage of household access the internet at home – but with increased access via cellphone. Internet access via cellphone has and will continue to provide a means of addressing spatial disparities of the past by creating more equitable access to online information and services for all.



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