Telecommunications market research firm TeleGeography reports that international data traffic increased 48% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To cope with such a surge, operators worldwide have added 35% in internet capacity – representing the largest one-year increase since 2013. Capacity growth has been most pronounced in Africa and Asia, up 46% and 41% respectively, compared with North America which saw an increase of 30% so far in 2020.
“To its enormous credit, the internet bent but—for the most part—did not break as network operators scrambled to deal with the swell in traffic.” – Paul Brodsky, Senior Analyst, TeleGeography
Before the pandemic spike, capacity growth had slowed slightly over recent years, with 28% added in 2017, 27% in 2018, and 26% in 2019. Despite an expected return to this growth rate post-pandemic, capacity worldwide will continue to leap forward. TeleGeography estimates that by 2024 operators will add almost as much international bandwidth as exists in the entire world today.