The Global Internet is Decentralising

14 Sep 2011

The global Internet is far less centered on the United States than it was ten years ago. According to new data from TeleGeography’s Global Internet Geography study, the development of rich regional networks, coupled with a need for diversification, has reduced the share of international capacity connected to the US for all regions except Latin America.

Operators have also diversified the array of city-to-city connections used in global backbones to create additional routing options and improve resiliency. For example, the London-New York route’s share of total trans-Atlantic capacity has declined from 46% in 2005 to 30% in 2011 as ISPs have deployed more capacity on other routes across the Atlantic, such as Paris-Washington and Frankfurt-New York.

While operators will continue to introduce alternate routes into the major hub cities, the development of new hubs is also vital. Countries such as Turkey, the UAE, Kenya and Brazil are angling to leverage their favourable geography, physical infrastructure, and proximity to fast-growing markets to become regional Internet hubs.

The shifting topology of the global Internet is also tied to the desire to locate content nearer to end users and, ultimately, reduce latency. ‘Several carriers reported to us that improved routing efficiencies, largely attributable to the caching and localisation of content, have reduced traffic on their interregional links and led to more rapid growth on local and regional links,’ noted TeleGeography Research Director Alan Mauldin. Traffic growth on intra-European routes exceeded growth on US-Europe routes between 2007 and 2011. A similar pattern is evident in Asia, where the pace of growth on intra-Asian links has surpassed that of trans-Pacific links during the same time frame. ‘The strengthening of regional hubs and intra-regional routes is a positive trend in the evolution of the Internet,’ said Mauldin. ‘Decentralisation should help to improve both network performance and reliability.’

TeleGeography’s Global Internet Geography is a comprehensive source of data and analysis about international Internet capacity, traffic, service providers and pricing. The research service provides profiles of 102 backbone operators, international Internet metrics for 75 countries, and detailed transit pricing data for 30 countries.

To speak with an analyst call +1-202-741-0020 or email

TeleGeography’s Global Internet Geography