How Does the Current Energy Crisis Impact Fibre Internet in South Africa?

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  • May 13, 2023

energy crisis impact fibre internet

South Africa is currently facing a severe energy crisis, with frequent power outages causing disruption to businesses and households across the country. The energy crisis has also had a significant impact on the country’s telecommunications sector, particularly the rollout of fibre internet infrastructure. In this essay, we will explore how the current energy crisis impacts fibre internet in South Africa and its rollout, highlighting the key features, challenges, and potential solutions.


Fibre internet is the latest broadband technology that uses optical fibres to transmit data. Fibre internet is known for its high speed, reliability, and capacity to handle large amounts of data. South Africa has been investing heavily in fibre internet infrastructure in recent years to improve the country’s internet connectivity and support its digital transformation.

However, the current energy crisis in South Africa is threatening to derail the country’s fibre internet rollout. The crisis is caused by a combination of factors, including aging infrastructure, insufficient investment in new capacity, and mismanagement of the state-owned power utility Eskom. The power outages resulting from the energy crisis have led to significant disruption to businesses, industries, and households across the country, affecting internet connectivity and other essential services.

Impact of the Energy Crisis on Fibre Internet

  1. Slowdown in the rollout of fibre internet infrastructure

The energy crisis in South Africa has led to a significant slowdown in the rollout of fibre internet infrastructure. The power outages have disrupted the installation of new fibre cables, delaying the completion of projects and increasing costs. The outages have also affected the maintenance of existing fibre infrastructure, leading to service interruptions and slower speeds.

  1. Increased costs of fibre internet

The energy crisis has also led to an increase in the cost of fibre internet in South Africa. The cost of fibre internet infrastructure has risen due to delays and disruptions caused by power outages, leading to higher costs for internet service providers (ISPs) and ultimately higher prices for consumers.

  1. Difficulty in maintaining fibre internet infrastructure

The energy crisis has made it challenging to maintain fibre internet infrastructure in South Africa. The power outages have led to interruptions in the power supply to fibre optic cables, causing damage and reducing their lifespan. The lack of a reliable power supply also makes it difficult to carry out routine maintenance activities, such as cleaning and testing, leading to increased downtime and service interruptions.

  1. Negative impact on the digital economy

The energy crisis in South Africa has had a negative impact on the country’s digital economy. The slowdown in the rollout of fibre internet infrastructure has affected businesses that rely on the internet, such as e-commerce platforms and online service providers. The higher cost of fibre internet has also made it more difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access high-speed internet, limiting their ability to compete with larger firms.

Challenges Facing the Rollout of Fibre Internet

  1. Lack of investment in energy infrastructure

The energy crisis in South Africa is caused by a lack of investment in energy infrastructure, including power generation, transmission, and distribution. The government and Eskom have not invested enough in new capacity to meet the country’s growing energy needs, leading to the current crisis.

  1. Poor maintenance of energy infrastructure

The poor maintenance of energy infrastructure in South Africa has also contributed to the energy crisis. Eskom’s aging power plants and transmission lines require regular maintenance and upgrades, which have not been carried out due to financial constraints and mismanagement.

  1. Lack of coordination between stakeholders

There is a lack of coordination between stakeholders involved in the rollout of fibre internet infrastructure in South Africa. The government, ISPs, and other stakeholders need to work together to address the challenges posed by the energy crisis and ensure that fibre internet infrastructure is installed and maintained efficiently.

  1. Increased reliance on backup generators

With power outages becoming a daily occurrence, many businesses and individuals have resorted to using backup generators to ensure uninterrupted power supply. This has become especially prevalent in the telecommunications industry, where service providers need to maintain connectivity to customers. However, the increased use of backup generators has its own set of problems, such as noise pollution, air pollution, and increased fuel costs. Additionally, the generators need to be maintained and serviced regularly, adding to the overall cost of providing fibre internet services.

  1. Uncertainty and lack of investment

The current energy crisis has created a climate of uncertainty and unpredictability, which can deter investment in the fibre internet industry. Investors may be hesitant to commit large sums of money to a sector that is heavily reliant on a reliable power supply. This lack of investment can impede the growth of the industry and lead to slower deployment of fibre internet infrastructure.

  1. Competition from other service providers

In the absence of a reliable power supply, some service providers may choose to focus on offering alternative connectivity solutions, such as satellite or wireless internet. This can lead to increased competition in the market, as customers may be forced to consider other options in the absence of reliable fibre internet services. This increased competition can further impact the profitability of fibre internet providers, who may struggle to retain customers and generate revenue.


The current energy crisis in South Africa has had a significant impact on the fibre internet industry. Power outages and load shedding have disrupted connectivity and led to increased costs for fibre internet service providers. The industry is heavily reliant on a reliable power supply, and the current crisis has highlighted the need for alternative sources of energy and greater investment in infrastructure. The continued growth of the fibre internet industry is essential for the economic development of South Africa, and it is imperative that steps are taken to address the current energy crisis and ensure a reliable power supply in the future.

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