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Internet Traffic and Capacity Remain Brisk

Internet Network

By Paul BrodskySep 13, 2022

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The internet continues its return to normal—however one chooses to define this term—in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With our newly updated Global Internet Geography Research Service, we conclude that the COVID-related expansion of internet traffic and bandwidth was largely a one-off phenomenon, and that the trends we had been observing in recent years have reasserted themselves.

International internet bandwidth and traffic growth have been gradually slowing in recent years, but they remain brisk.

Let's talk about that a bit.

Global internet bandwidth rose by 28% in 2022, continuing the return to "normal" from the pandemic-generated bump of 2020.

Global internet bandwidth rose by 28% in 2022, continuing the return to "normal" from the pandemic-generated bump of 2020.

Total international bandwidth now stands at 997 Tbps, representing a 4-year CAGR of 29%. COVID bump aside, the pace of growth has been slowing. Still, we do see a near tripling of bandwidth since 2018.

Strong capacity growth is visible across regions. Africa experienced the most rapid growth of international internet bandwidth, growing at a compound annual rate of 44% between 2018 and 2022.

Asia sits behind Africa, rising at a 35% compound annual rate during the same period.

International Internet Bandwidth Growth by Region

International Internet Bandwidth Growth by Region
 
Notes: Data as of mid-year. Source: © 2022 TeleGeography
 
 

International internet traffic growth largely mirrors that of internet bandwidth.

Both average and peak international internet traffic increased at a compound annual rate of 30% between 2018 and 2022—slightly above the 29% compounded annual growth rate in bandwidth over the same period. All the stay-at-home activity associated with COVID-19 resulted in a spike in traffic from 2019 to 2020.

The return to more normal usage patterns has resulted in a substantial drop in average and peak traffic for 2021–2022.

As one may expect, the return to more normal usage patterns has resulted in a substantial drop in average and peak traffic for 2021–2022.

Average traffic growth dropped from 47% between 2019-2020 to 29% between 2021-2022, while peak traffic growth dropped from 46% to 28% over the same time period.

In our Global Internet Geography Research Service, we analyze the meaning of our robust internet capacity and traffic data sets. We also discuss factors impacting IP transit pricing and the role individual backbone operators play.

Download the 2022 Executive Summary to keep reading our latest analysis.

 

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Paul Brodsky

Paul Brodsky

Paul Brodsky is a Senior Research Manager at TeleGeography. He is part of the network, internet, cloud, and voice research team. His regional expertise includes Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

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