Internet Bandwidth Rises Globally Amid Slowing Growth

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Market research from TeleGeography found that global Internet bandwidth grew by 28% in 2022, now standing at 997 Tbps with a four-year CAGR of 29%.

The company predicts that the Pbps era will soon be underway as things begin to return to “normal” after the pandemic-related disruptions.

Interestingly globally, the pace of growth is slowing. However, despite this slower growth rate, global internet bandwidth has nearly tripled since 2018.

It was also found that the growth of international internet bandwidth and internet traffic remains similar. Average and peak international Internet traffic grew at a compound annual rate of 30% between 2018 and 2022, slightly above the 29% CAGR of bandwidth over the same period.

Africa has seen the fastest growth in international internet bandwidth, with a compound annual growth rate of 44% between 2018 and 2022, and Asia was close behind with a CAGR of 35% over the same period.

Following the COVID-19 related traffic increase in 2020, a global return to more typical usage patterns has resulted in lower average and peak usage rates. Average traffic growth fell from 47% between 2019-2020 to 29% between 2021-2022, while peak traffic growth fell from 46% to 28% over the same period.

Paul Brodsky, Senior Director of Research, TeleGeography, says carriers are now adding bandwidth and starting to design traffic in a different way as we move out of the heart of the pandemic. He says the massive expansion in internet traffic caused by COVID has largely diminished.

“After a tumultuous 2020, with pandemic-induced volume increases and shifts in internet traffic patterns, carriers are starting to add bandwidth again and design their traffic in a more measured way,” he says.

“Based on robust survey data collected from dozens of regional and global network operators around the world, it is clear that the COVID-related internet traffic and bandwidth expansion was a one-time phenomenon. “

When it comes to providers, many global networks have started to return to more typical utilization rates post-pandemic.

Average and peak global utilization rates were essentially unchanged from last year, standing at 26% and 45%, respectively, in 2021 and 2022.

Price was also a factor. Providers have moved primarily to 100 Gbps Internet backbones and continue to reduce the average cost of transporting traffic. In seven major global hub cities, 10 GigE prices fell 16%, worsened annually from Q2 2019 to Q2 2022, while 100 GigE port prices fell 25%.

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