September 06, 2012
New data from TeleGeography’s Global Internet Geography research reveal that international Internet capacity growth fell to the lowest pace in five years, decreasing from 68 percent in 2008 to 40 percent in 2012. While the pace of growth is slowing, international Internet bandwidth continues to grow rapidly, more than doubling between 2010 and 2012, to 77 Tbps.
International Internet Bandwidth Growth, 2008-2012
Decelerating network capacity growth rates are mirrored in slowing rates of peak and average international Internet traffic growth. Average international Internet traffic grew 35 percent in 2012, down from 39 percent in 2011, and peak traffic grew 33 percent, well below the 57 percent increase recorded in 2011. International Internet traffic and capacity growth rates are declining due to a combination of factors, including slowing broadband subscriber growth in mature markets, and the expansion of content delivery networks (CDNs) and local caching technologies, which reduce the need for new long-haul capacity by storing popular content closer to the end-users. Nevertheless, the underlying drivers of bandwidth demand remain strong. Broadband penetration rates in developing markets remain modest, leaving substantial room for new subscriber growth. In more mature markets, where the pace of broadband subscriber growth has slowed, faster broadband speeds and the growing adoption of bandwidth-intensive applications, most notably online video, are spurring higher traffic volumes per user.
With the exception of a few developing countries, the days of triple-digit annual growth rates are long past. However, even with the use of CDNs and caching technologies, the compounding effect of rapid traffic growth will continue to require carriers to make considerable investments to expand network capacity.
TeleGeography’s Global Internet Geography research service is a comprehensive source of data and analysis about international Internet capacity, traffic, service providers, ASN connectivity, and pricing. It provides:
- Profiles of 103 Internet backbone operators
- International Internet traffic data for 32 major countries and capacity and detailed indicator data for 75 countries
- U.S. domestic bandwidth data from 2003-2012 and traffic data from 2008-2012
- In-depth analysis of global and regional wholesale Internet pricing trends
- Autonomous System Number (ASN) connectivity analysis and rankings of backbone operators’ downstream IP address connectivity by region, country, and ISP
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