The evolution of the global Internet took a new turn in 2002, according to a new report issued Wednesday by Washington research firm TeleGeography. Since the development of the Web browser, international IP bandwidth deployments have more than doubled each year. This year, however, the growth rate of international Internet bandwidth slowed to just under 40 percent.
The report says the maturing Internet markets of Europe contributed most directly to the global deceleration of international Internet capacity growth. Europe, which accounts for 82 percent of the world’s cross-border bandwidth, experienced an international capacity increase of only 35 percent, a steep decline from the 191 percent growth rate recorded in 2001.
The slowdown was not limited to Europe. Latin America’s international Internet capacity grew only 65 percent in 2002 after skyrocketing 471 percent in the previous year, while Asia’s Internet bandwidth crept up 55 percent for the year, compared to 122 percent in 2001.
“A generally conservative approach to deployments of new capacity accounted for a significant portion of the global slowdown. However, 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 offline by companies like Energis, Carrier1, KPNQwest, and Teleglobe, it’s amazing that international Internet capacity grew at all.”