Internet backbones remain the primary users of international bandwidth, accounting for 75 percent of demand in 2013. However, the drivers of international bandwidth demand are changing. As private network operators, including large content providers like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, expand their internal networks, their bandwidth requirements increasingly exceed those of the largest carriers.

New Global Network Builders Emerge
April 23, 2014

International Internet Backbone and Private Network Capacity Growth

Source: TeleGeography

Private network bandwidth grew at a compounded rate of 55 percent annually between 2009 and 2013, while international Internet bandwidth grew 44 percent.Private networks accounted for 25 percent of used international bandwidth in 2013, up from 20 percent in 2009. Given their massive capacity requirements, some of the largest content providers have moved towards owning infrastructure, as a means of lowering their costs.

Global network expansion has undergone a long-term shift in focus, from connecting users to users, to linking users to data centers and—increasingly—data centers to each other. “Data replication and mirroring among data centers are key drivers in the rapid growth of private network capacity,” said TeleGeography Research Director Alan Mauldin. “Private network operators are poised to play a leading role in future global network development, including as anchor investors and consortium members in submarine cable systems.”