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African internet capacity growth continues to lead world

26 Aug 2015

Worldwide international Internet capacity growth continues to slow, falling from 41% in 2011 to 31% in 2015. However, even with the declining pace of growth, backbone operators deployed 43Tbps of new capacity in the past year alone. New data from TeleGeography’s Global Internet Geography research service reveal that growth in international internet capacity connected to Africa continues to outpace that of any other region.

African Internet bandwidth grew 41% between 2014 and 2015, and 51% compounded annually over the last five years, to reach 2.9Tbps. Oceania saw the second fastest growth rate of 47% per year between 2011 and 2015 to reach 2.1Tbps, and capacity in Latin America and the Middle East grew 44% per year to 20.6Tbps and 8.4Tbps, respectively. While international internet capacity in each of these regions has doubled every two years over the period, growth in Europe and the US and Canada was far slower, at 33% compounded annually.

Despite the varying pace of new deployments, internet capacity growth has slowed in all regions over the past five years. This trend has been especially apparent in Africa. Despite the continent recording strong capacity growth between 2011 and 2015, it was a far cry from the 93% compound annual growth rate seen between 2006 and 2010.

Furthermore, while North African and Sub-Saharan African international internet bandwidth increased more than 90% compounded annually between 2006 and 2010, growth rates among the sub-regions have varied substantially in recent years. Between 2011 and 2015, internet bandwidth connected to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa rose at a much faster clip than that connected to North African countries, growing 66% and 43% per year, respectively.

‘New cable builds on the east and west coasts of Africa, including ACE, SEACOM, EASSy, WACS, and others, along with new terrestrial networks, have greatly increased available capacity in the Sub-Saharan region,’ said TeleGeography Senior Analyst Patrick Christian. ‘Meanwhile, content is moving to Africa as CDN services emerge and Google Global Cache servers are installed, tempering demand for long-haul capacity.’

TeleGeography’s Global Internet Geography is a comprehensive source of data and analysis about international Internet capacity, traffic, service providers, ASN connectivity, and pricing. It provides profiles of 119 backbone operators, international Internet metrics for 79 countries, and detailed transit pricing data for 38 countries.

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