TRPC Pte. Ltd.

Internet Traffic Growth: Sources and Implications

The high-tech bubble was inflated by myths of astronomical Internet traffic growth rates. Yet although these myths were false, Internet traffic was increasing very rapidly, close to doubling each year since 1997. Moreover, it continues growing close to this rate. This rapid growth reflects a poorly understood combination of any feedback loops operating on different time scales. Evidence about past and current t growth rates and their sources is presented, together with speculations about the future. The expected rapid but not astronomical growth of Internet traffic is likely to have important implications for networking technologies that are deployed and for industry structure. Backbone transport is likely to remain a commodity and be provided as a single high-quality y service. It is probable that backbone revenues will stay low, as the complexity, cost, and revenue and profit opportunities continue to migrate towards the edges of the network.

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