Beating the bandwidth doomsayers

10 Sep 2008

We're not running out of bandwidth. In fact, new research from TeleGeography shows the growth in internet backbone capacity is actually running ahead of demand.

"Despite predictions from some quarters that Internet traffic would overwhelm networks, the global Internet is far from reaching its maximum capacity," TeleGeography said.

Claims of a bandwidth "exaflood" which would overwhelm internet capacity have been pressed by US critics who claim excessive regulation is choking off investment.

But there's seems to be no impediment to internet backbone investment. The TeleGeography data shows operators have increased capacity by expanding their networks and managing them more efficiently.

"For the second consecutive year, the rate of underlying international Internet capacity deployment outpaced global Internet traffic growth, leading to lower utilization levels on many Internet backbones," TeleGeography said.

International internet bandwidth has expanded 62% this year over 2007, with network utilization in Asia and Europe actually falling. Worldwide, average traffic levels this year have fallen from 31% to 29%, while peak rates have declined one point to 43%.

International bandwidth in Asia is still pricey compared to the US and Europe, however.

The median price for a 1 Gbps IP transit port in New York is $10 per Mbps, compared to more than $37 per Mbps in Hong Kong.

The price per Mbps of GigE ports has declined at a faster rate in New York and London than in Hong Kong in the last three years, TeleGeography says, "reflecting stiffer competition and more abundant capacity in North America and Europe compared with Asia."

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