The internet is a global network; however, data from TeleGeography’s new Global Internet Geography reveal that the market for international internet services remains characterised by distinct regional dynamics.
Traffic soared, but so did capacity. Internet traffic rose 56% in 2010. Carriers piled on 13.2Tbps of new international capacity, and network utilization remained stable. However, regional utilization levels vary widely: peak utilisation levels on intra-Asian links are 50% higher than on intra-European links (see figure).
Africa has a long way to grow. Africa’s international Internet backbone capacity has increased more than 14-fold between 2006 and 2010. However, all of Africa combined still has less than one-third as much international Internet connectivity as the country of Austria, alone.
Prices only go down. Wholesale Internet (IP transit) prices in major US and European cities are by far the lowest in the world, yet they continue to fall as rapidly as prices in major cities of Asia and Latin America.
Market concentration varies widely. The five largest carriers in Asia account for 37% of that region’s international Internet bandwidth. In Latin America, the top 5 carriers operate 77% of international internet capacity.