End of the Private Networks

trans_atlantic_graph.gifThe private networks might be on their last legs. Latest data from TeleGeography’s Global Internet Geography research service, shows that the Internet backbones now account for over 85% of the world’s cross-border capacity used in fiber-optic networks. The balance of used capacity is dedicated to private corporate networks and international telephone traffic. Among other highlights of the recent report, the rate of Internet backbone growth varies dramatically by region. Mature Internet markets in the U.S. and Europe have seen relatively slow growth, just 30 to 40 percent over the last year. Asian backbones have upgraded much more rapidly—over 70 percent last year—and show no signs of slowing down. Technology Futurist offers a brilliant explanation for the trend. As a sobering though, our friends at Telegeography remind us that despite the super growth, a huge portion of international fiber-optic bandwidth still goes unused. On trans-Atlantic routes, for example, only about a quarter of currently lit capacity is actively deployed to carry voice, Internet, and corporate traffic. The remainder lies idle, either unsold or unused by service providers. This mismatch of supply and demand could persist for several more years due to the still untapped “upgradeable” capacity of current submarine networks.