Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads: Going Back to the Future With Submarine Cables

Internet Conferences

By Jayne MillerFeb 19, 2019


What would Doc Brown do? This might be a weird question to ponder at a TeleGeography telecom workshop. But here we are.

During this year's annual telecom rundown at PTC, Research Director Alan Mauldin took the audience time hopping through bandwidth demand drivers, interregional routing changes, cable landings, cable investments, and future cable requirements. 

Starting in the distant olden times of 2006, Alan came armed with TeleGeography's data on the primary consumers of international bandwidth by type. Thirteen years ago internet backbone providers were a clear leader, with an established share of used capacity, clocking in at over 80 percent.

Today things look different. The dominance of backbone providers has waned; content providers accounted for 54 percent of global used internet bandwidth in 2018.

Looking at the share of bandwidth by route, we see several on which content providers boast an even larger piece of the pie. Three even saw content providers taking upward of 60 percent of used capacity. 


How will this change going forward? 

Alan brought TeleGeography projections for what things could look like eight years from now, in 2027. 

If things continue as they have been, it wouldn't be unlikely to see content providers taking up 83 percent of used international bandwidth globally. (This is actually what it is in the Trans-Atlantic market now.)

Where companies choose to put their data centers will have a big role in the degree to which content providers are dominant on a route.

So could there be another map forward? Or could new consumers who we haven't met yet tilt the forecast? Or perhaps new companies with massive bandwidth needs?

Of course. As Doc Brown says, "You're future hasn't been written're future is what you make of it."

This is just the beginning. Alan covered so much more.

Download TeleGeography's workshop slides here and click below to enjoy the full 2019 international networks update.



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Alan Mauldin

Alan Mauldin

Alan Mauldin is a Research Director at TeleGeography. He manages the company’s infrastructure research group, focusing primarily on submarine cables, terrestrial networks, international Internet infrastructure, and bandwidth demand modeling. He also advises clients with due diligence analysis, feasibility studies, and business plan development for projects around the world. Alan speaks frequently about the global network industry at a wide range of conferences, including PTC, Submarine Networks World, and SubOptic.

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