The evolution of the global Internet took a new turn in 2002. Since the invention of the Web browser, international IP bandwidth deployments have more than doubled each year. New data released by research firm TeleGeography reveals that in 2002, however, the growth rate of international Internet bandwidth slowed to just under 40%. The aggregate capacity between some major cities even shrank.
The maturing Internet markets of Europe contributed most directly to the global deceleration of international Internet capacity growth. Europe, which accounts for 82% of the world’s cross-border bandwidth, experienced an international capacity increase of only 35%, a steep decline from the 191% growth rate recorded in 2001. The slowdown was not unique to Europe, however. Latin America’s international Internet capacity grew only 65% in 2002 after skyrocketing 471% in the previous year, while Asia’s Internet bandwidth crept up 55% for the year, compared to 122% in 2001.
A generally conservative approach to deployments of new capacity accounted for a significant portion of the global slowdown. However, much of the global deceleration came as a result of corporate financial distress, with bankruptcies leading to partial or complete network shutdowns. Considering how much bandwidth was taken offline by companies like Energis, Carrier1, KPNQwest, and Teleglobe, it’s amazing that international Internet capacity grew at all. KPNQwest, for example, shut down a European network accounting for 192Gb/s of international Internet capacity.
Table 1 – International Internet bandwidth by region – 2000-2002 (Mb/s)
US and Canada
(Source: TeleGeography Inc)
Note: Data represent Internet bandwidth (not traffic) connected across international borders as of mid-year.
Domestic routes are omitted.
From: Global Internet Geography 2003
Global – Internet – Infrastructure
Global – Infrastructure – Fixed Networks – International
Technology – Infrastructure – Long Distance 1 – Fibre, WDM, Satellite, Microwave
Technology – Infrastructure – Key Concepts
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