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Summary:

Given recent economic challenges around the globe, one might conclude that demand for the web is down, but apparently not. According to a report from research firm TeleGeography, international bandwidth usage continued to grow in spite of the global recession of the past few years.

Given recent economic challenges around the globe, one might conclude that demand for the web is down, but apparently that’s not the case. According to a report from research firm TeleGeography, international bandwidth usage continued to grow in spite of the global recession of the past few years. It notes that:

“International bandwidth usage increased 60 percent in 2009, in line with the past two years, and well ahead of the trend of 2002-2006. Growth has been particularly rapid in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. However, capacity requirements to seemingly mature markets, such as Europe and the U.S., have also grown at a compounded annual rate of more than 50 percent since 2002.”

Home and enterprise Internet access are surely driving demand, but the TeleGeography growth numbers from the Middle East, Africa and Latin American regions are undoubtedly being impacted by the mobile web. In emerging markets, it’s not uncommon for the primary information source to be a cellular phone connected to the web. That’s something I learned during Nokia’s CES keynote earlier this year — a moving experience that I’ve not forgotten.

Although the recession appears to be nearing an end in some areas of the world, the data has me wondering if readers would give up their Internet access — either home or mobile — before cutting back in other areas. There are too many scenarios to account for, so instead of running a poll here, leave us your thoughts in the comments. Would you give your web access during financially troubled times or is it one of the last items you’d drop in a cost-cutting measure?

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Why Carriers Can’t Afford to Wait for New Spectrum

  1. Internet access for me is more of a necessity than most other things. Figure I can just cut a couple of dinners out to pay for the entire month. Cost wise it’s rather cheap for what we can get, but would still like to see it much cheaper :)

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  2. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ought to be updated to include Internet access, somewhere near the base of the pyramid.

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  3. For the connected ones, I think that Internet has become a necessity as it helps fulfill our needs for communicating, transacting, entertainment, finding info on diverse things, sharing special moments, working, etc, all while saving us time and money vs. other alternatives. With this in mind it would be near the bottom of my list of non-essential expenses.

    On the other hand, it still can’t replace face-to-face socialization with friends or loved ones so time to leave a small budget for going out, even if it is just to the park for an ice cream.

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  4. This seems like a pretty obvious outcome: people spend less money going out and more time seeking out alternative sources of entertainment at home, much of which is online and requires more bandwidth. It especially makes sense because broadband connections are flat-rate priced, meaning that you can get more of your entertainment or communications needs taken care of online for no more money than you were already spending on your broadband connection.

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  5. Web access, for me, is a pretty essential utility (i.e., at nearly the level of heating, electrical, water, sewage, etc.). My economic security is also, to some extent, tied to web access too, so I certain would put it well ahead of cable television, a land-line (both of which have already been supplanted by the web), and the like.

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  6. Since I’m somebody that makes a living, of sorts, off the web, I can’t give it up.

    But, even if that were not the case, the web is now my core information and entertainment source. I’d cut a lot of other things before I’d cut my access. For example, I’ve maintained a land line but, if needed, I’d cut that and go with Skype or some other sketchy solution cause I’m on the web all day and night and on the phone very little.

    I don’t watch tv, rarely listen to radio, don’t read print newspapers or magazines.. I’d feel totally isolated without the web but don’t need any of that other media now.

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  7. Yep, that’s right. The Internet has become essential for me, I can live without cable but not without Internet access. If the time comes when I have to cut expenses, guess what, cable is gone for sure and next in line will be my landline… wait, I don’t have a landline ;-)

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