In a new article today, Telegeography says the internet grew at a 53% clip over the last twelve months. That’s a solid rate, although it is down a bit from last year’s 61%. It certainly doesn’t match up with the slow growth rates Cogent has been reporting lately, but nor does it match up with the much higher rates Global Crossing has been reporting. It probably falls in line with what Level 3 has been saying about traffic.
But the difference between the various carrier traffic anecdotes highlights the folly in putting a single number on internet growth. Telegeography does a good job of reminding us that there is substantial geographical variation in those growth rates. The fastest growth is to and from Latin America at some 112%, service to which is one of Global Crossing’s differentiating features these days. Cogent on the other hand mainly sells transit between the major internet hubs in the USA, which Telegeography reports at 47% – still higher than what Cogent has been seeing, but Cogent’s slowdown is just 6 months old and is at least partly related to pricing trends.
And even this granularity is still at the national level, putting a raw number on the growth of USA internet traffic is similarly problematic. For instance, measuring traffic on the main longhaul routes between hubs completely misses much of the traffic that comes down off of CDN’s near the eventual destination – the closer you get to the edge the more traffic there seems to be. Of course, one has to draw the line somewhere and measure something and produce some numbers, else we wouldn’t know anything at all about traffic growth.
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