The number of local broadband users is continuing to show a significant percentage growth, and is closing in on the half-a-million mark.

Telkom’s ADSL service remains that most popular broadband connection with around 220,000 subscribers. The latest official figure released by Telkom was 190,172 at the end of the third quarter 2006, and with an average growth of 7 800 new subscribers per month it will place the current figure at just over 220,000.

Vodacom is showing even faster growth with over 10,000 new 3G and HSDPA users signing up each month. The last official figure from Vodacom was 100,700 data card users at the end of September 2006, but if one accepts that the growth remained steady over the last four months this number now sits closer to 140,000.

iBurst is another success story in the broadband race, and has nearly quadrupled their subscriber numbers in the last year. Their current user base of over 33,000 subscribers is growing at over 2000 new members per month, and with its continual coverage expansion this figure will surely continue to rise.

MTN has not released official data card user numbers recently, but it is widely accepted that this figure is sitting in the tens of thousands.

Sentech remains the black sheep of the broadband space with only 4,000 subscribers on its network, but the company is close to introducing faster speeds, expanding coverage and revealing new packages which may change this situation.

And then there is the WiFi user base making use of smaller Wireless Internet Service Providers. Nobody has exact figures on the number of WiFi subscribers, but it is widely accepted to be far in excess of 10 000.

While there are no exact figures on the total number of broadband subscribers, the figure is definitely well over 400,000 and is closing in on the half-a-million mark. This equates to a broadband penetration rate in the region of 0.9%.