Global internet capacity reaches 77Tbps despite slowing growth

06 September 2012 |


International internet capacity growth fell to its lowest pace in five years, decreasing from 68% growth in 2008 to 40% growth in 2012.

But despite this decline, international internet bandwidth more than doubled between 2010 and 2012 to 77Tbps, according to data from TeleGeography.

The decline in internet capacity growth was found to mirror that of slowing rates of peak and average internet traffic growth. In 2012 average traffic growth went down from 39% in 2011 to 35% in 2012, while peak traffic dropped from 57% growth in 2011 to 33% in 2012.

Slowing broadband subscriber growth in mature markets and the expansion of CDNs and local caching technologies were attributed to the decline in traffic, as they reduce the need for long-haul capacity by storing content closer to end users.

However, the research firm said that the underlying drivers of bandwidth remain strong, with broadband penetration rates in developing markets still only modest, leaving substantial room for new subscriber growth. While in mature markets faster broadband speeds and growing adoption of bandwidth intensive applications were driving higher traffic volumes per user.

With the exception of some developing countries, triple digit annual capacity growth was found to have long past. However, TeleGeography still stressed that even with the use of CDNs and caching, rapid traffic growth would continue to force carriers to make considerable investments to expand network capacity. 

International Internet Bandwidth Growth, 2008-2012