Long-haul bandwidth usage grows in spite of recession


New data from TeleGeography's Global Bandwidth Research Service

shows that international bandwidth usage increased 60% in 2009, in line with the previous two years, and well ahead of the trend of 2002-2006.


Growth has been especially rapid in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. However, capacity requirements within apparently mature markets, such as Europe and the United States, have also grown at a compound annual rate of more than 50% since 2002. Over the past seven years, aggregate international capacity requirements have grown more than 22-fold. Providers have kept pace with that demand by rapidly upgrading their fiber-optic networks by lighting additional wavelengths.

However, much of the world remains unaddressed by broadband and the ITU and UNESCO have moved to establish a Broadband Commission for Digital Development which will define strategies for accelerating broadband rollout worldwide and examine applications that could see broadband networks improve the delivery of a huge range of social services, from healthcare to education, environmental management, safety and much more.

The new Commission is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mr Carlos Slim Hélu, Honorary Lifetime Chairman of Grupo Carso and often the wealthiest man in the world. ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré and UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, will serve as joint vice chairs.

In a video message to journalists, Slim emphasised the importance of affordable, ubiquitous broadband access: "I am pleased that ITU and UNESCO are forming this Commission for promoting broadband globally. Without a doubt, broadband is the nervous system of today's new civilisation, so broadband access is a top priority for our technological society," he said. "Broadband is not a gap, but a bridge between developed and developing countries, providing access to all of the services of modern society for the well-being of the population in general."

Stewart Baines
Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.