Internet traffic is growing fast — but capacity is keeping pace
see also executive summary
According to new data from TeleGeography, international Internet traffic grew 53% between mid-2007 and mid-2008, down from 61% the preceding year. Traffic growth between the US and Latin America was especially fast, surging 112%. In contrast, traffic on internet backbones between major cities in the relatively more mature US market rose a modest 47%.
For the second consecutive year, total international Internet capacity grew faster than total Internet traffic, leading to lower utilisation levels on many internet backbones. Between 2007 and 2008 average traffic utilisation levels decreased from 31% to 29%, while peak utilisation fell from 44% to 43%. The aggregate trend toward lower utilisation of capacity belies significant regional differences. While utilisation on international links to Europe and Asia fell in 2008, they rose in the US & Canada and Latin American where traffic growth outpaced the deployment of new internet bandwidth.
Traffic growth has remained strong, even though the pace of broadband subscriber growth has declined. 'Broadband subscriber growth has been slowing since 2001, but the volume of traffic generated by each user grown,' said TeleGeography Director of Research Alan Mauldin. 'Traffic growth is fueled by consumer demand for video, delivered via web browsers, peer-to-peer services, or streaming protocols.'
TeleGeography's Global Internet Geography provides in-depth analysis of international and US domestic Internet backbone capacity, traffic and pricing.