Demand for international bandwidth grew 39 percent last year, and at a compounded annual rate of 53 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to Telegeography. The interesting bit here is that the growth is coming not just from developed regions, but all regions of the world.
Cheaper mobile phones with access to the web are certainly a part of that demand growth in developing nations, while in more traditional technology markets, hotspots, larger applications and cloud computing are to blame. Whatever the reason for demand, carriers are responding accordingly, with new submarine cables connecting more countries than ever before.
Telegeography tracks bandwidth supply, pricing and data on submarine cables, and the latest data shows how carriers that range from traditional players like Level 3 and Tata to newer investors such as Google are connecting all areas of the world. The firm estimates all regions are getting about 10 to 12 new terabits per second of capacity in the last five years. All in all in the last five years the world has gained 54 Tbps of new capacity.
This is great, because additional cables means more redundancy, so when accidents happen or cables get cut — as happened late last month off the coast of Egypt — traffic can route around the nicks in the system. That redundancy also allows new players into the market and can result in lower bandwidth costs, which is good for businesses buying bandwidth and indirectly for consumers.