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Thanks to geographic proximity to Africa and the Middle East, as well as low transit prices, Europe is emerging as the hub of the global internet bandwidth boom, according to research firm Telegeography. The company released a study Wednesday that shows how more and more cables are connecting in Europe because of the availability of large exchanges such as the Amsterdam and Frankfurt Internet exchanges. From the story:
Europe is an attractive Internet hub because it is home to many large carriers and major Internet exchanges, and IP transit prices are among the lowest in the world,’ said TeleGeography analyst Paul Brodsky. ‘New cable builds in Africa and the Middle East have enabled international operators to access inexpensive IP transit directly in European cities instead of connecting much further to the U.S.
Overall the growth of global bandwidth is slowing, but operators still are adding 26 Tbps of capacity this year, more than even existed in 2009. But as the growth slows, the center of the bandwidth universe is shifting. International internet capacity connected to Europe increased by 18.5 Tbps in 2013, growing most rapidly between Europe and Africa.
Europe now accounts for 94 percent of international internet bandwidth connected to North Africa, up from 61 percent ten years ago, and 72 percent of bandwidth connected to Sub-Saharan Africa, up from 39 percent a decade ago. Growth in European connectivity is equally sharp for the Middle East, which has seen its bandwidth connected to Europe increase from 51 percent to 85 percent in the past ten years.
So Europe is in the right place for internet growth in the rest of the world, but its prices for transit are also lower because so many providers connect at internet exchange points on the continent. That competition between IXPs tends to lead to lower pricing.