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Internet Bandwidth is Ballooning

New research from TeleGeography Inc. shows that Internet bandwidth is expanding exponentially on international routes.

According to the research firm's 2001 Telecom Almanac, Internet bandwidth has grown roughly 383 percent over the past year. In 1999, all regions of the world were served by about 61 Gbit/s of Internet backbone bandwidth. Today, that's grown to 294 Gbit/s.

While Internet capacity is burgeoning everywhere, the world's biggest international links extend from the U.S./Canada to Europe, to the Asia/Pacific region, and to Latin America. Of these top connections, the one between North America and Europe has grown the fastest, increasing 324 percent in capacity over the last year.

Traffic Levels on Top Internet Links, 1999-2000 "We see capacity increasing within and between world regions," says Jessica Marantz, director of marketing and business development at TeleGeography. And there's even more bandwidth on the way, she says. By 2002, the completion of proposed submarine cable links will dramatically increase capacity worldwide. Connections between the U.S. and Latin America, for instance, will equal two-thirds the capacity of links betwen the U.S. and Europe, according to Marantz.

Links between other regions also are growing, albeit on a smaller scale. Europe's connections to Africa, the Asia/Pacific region, and Latin America grew 150 percent, 134 percent, and 102 percent last year, respectively. And links between the U.S./Canada and Africa expanded by 175 percent.

Traffic Levels on Other Internet Backbone Links, 1999-2000 Internet capacity also is growing within specific world regions. TeleGeography figures show that within North America, capacity burst over 300 percent, and topped 325 percent in European regional nets. Also, the firm's research shows that the Internet backbone isn't totally U.S.-centric anymore. "Europe and the Asia/Pacific regions have come into their own, and countries are starting to swap traffic between borders without using the U.S. as a hub," Marantz says.

Internet Bandwidth Growth by Region, 1999-2000 Marantz cautions that the figures TeleGeography gathers reflect raw capacity, not demand for bandwidth. Clearly, however, bigger pipelines signal a clamor for more bandwidth -- and a need for more efficient ways to produce it.

-- Mary Jander, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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