International bandwidth demand grows 45%

18 Jul 2012

Data from TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Research Service reveal that demand for international bandwidth grew 45% in 2011, and at a compounded rate of 57% annually between 2007 and 2011. Although growth has slowed since 2008, when network capacity increased nearly 70%, the pace remains brisk, with aggregate capacity requirements more than doubling every two years.

The rate of growth varies widely by region, and has been fastest on links to less-developed regions. Between 2007 and 2011, international bandwidth usage in the Middle East grew at a compounded rate of 98% annually, from 148Gbps to 2.3Tbps. Over the same time period, Africa’s international bandwidth usage increased 85% annually, to 677Gbps, and Latin America’s international bandwidth usage grew 71%, to 5.6Tbps.

International bandwidth requirements in Asia and Europe grew at a compounded rate of more than 55% between 2007 and 2011, while international bandwidth demand in North America and Oceania grew 47%. “Although international bandwidth usage growth is slower in these mature markets, their capacity requirements are far larger than those of emerging markets,” said TeleGeography analyst Jon Hjembo. “North America’s international bandwidth usage is nearly ten times greater than that of the entire Middle East, while used capacity connected to Norway is greater than that connected to all of the countries in Africa.”

Broadband subscriber growth is the primary driver of bandwidth demand in the Middle East and Africa, where the number of subscribers grew from 9.4 million to 19.4 million between 2007 and 2011, and in Asia, where broadband subscriptions doubled to 250 million over the same period. While broadband subscriber growth has slowed in Latin America, Europe, and North America, bandwidth demand in these regions has been fueled by increases in average broadband access speeds, enabling more frequent use of high-bandwidth applications such as video.

TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Research Service provides detailed data for the long-haul networks and submarine cable industry, including supply, demand, cost, and pricing analysis and profiles for 325 network operators and 252 submarine cables.

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