Since the invention of the Internet web browser, some 20 years ago, international IP bandwidth deployments have so far more than doubled each year.
However, research firm TeleGeography reveals in its latest report Global Internet Geography 2003 that, during 2002, the average growth rate of international Internet bandwidth slowed to just under 40%.
The aggregate capacity between some major cities even shrank.
The maturing Internet markets of Europe contributed most directly to the global deceleration of international Internet capacity growth.
Europe, which accounts for 82% of the world’s cross-border bandwidth, experienced an international capacity increase of only 35%, a steep decline from the 191% growth rate recorded in 2001.
The slowdown was not unique to Europe. Latin America’s international Internet capacity grew only 65% in 2002 after rocketing 471% in the previous year, while Asia’s Internet bandwidth crept up 55%, compared to 122% in 2001.
"A generally conservative approach to deployments of new capacity accounted for a significant portion of the global slowdown.
Much of the global deceleration came as a result of corporate financial distress, with bankruptcies leading to partial or complete network shutdowns," said Alan Mauldin, senior research analyst at TeleGeography.
"Considering how much bandwidth was taken off-line by companies like Energis, Carrier1, KPNQwest and Teleglobe, it’s amazing that international Internet capacity grew at all," Mauldin added.
KPNQwest, for example, shut down a European network that accounted for 192Gbit/s of international Internet capacity.