Thursday, March 22, 2012

Broadband Capacity - Enough to Compete Globally


As the appetite for online communication and collaboration continues to grow across the globe, Internet-generated broadband traffic will increase by approximately 50 percent year-over-year on fixed networks and it will double on mobile networks.

According to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), both fixed and mobile broadband traffic volumes are primarily driven by "power users" that are utilizing a disproportionate amount of bandwidth. Observing and following their usage characteristics has become a leading market indicator that analysts monitor and assess.

IDC forecasts that end-user demand for worldwide wireline and mobile broadband traffic will increase from 9,665 petabytes per month in 2010 to an amazing 116,539 petabytes per month in 2015.

Web browsing, peer-to-peer file sharing, audio/video streaming, and a host of other advanced applications are all driving broadband bandwidth consumption. Truly, if you build it they (power users) will come -- plus, they will also find creative and progressive new ways to apply it in their lives.

Demand for Super-Fast and Ultra-Fast Broadband

"The enormous growth in end-user demand for both fixed and mobile broadband services is staggering," said Matt Davis, director of Consumer and SMB Telecom Services at IDC.

Despite enormous growth projected in IDC's forecast, it is difficult to overestimate this phenomenon. Granted, both fixed and mobile operators will have to adapt to this new reality that will place growing demands for network resources -- and ultimately new infrastructure investment.

That being said, broadband service providers are now viewed as the enablers of meaningful socioeconomic advancement -- assuming that they continue to invest, and that they refrain from limiting or otherwise handicapping increased demand for bandwidth in their service area.

Bandwidth usage strongly correlates with the availability of faster broadband speeds. This trend can be seen when comparing networks within countries and more widely from region to region.

This tells us that capacity and usage are interwoven, and that increasing capacity will ultimately lead to the adoption of new services and greater use -- this is a wonderful thing, from an economic development point of view.

The relationship between availability and usage is important when considering the question of how much bandwidth is enough. So, when do you know that you have enough capacity in your market to compete globally?

The answer is "when you have all the economic growth that you want to enable." Meaning, if you really intend to compete in the Global Networked Economy, then you'll eventually need to attain parity with the recognized symmetrical broadband deployment leaders (in South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc).

Other findings from IDC's market study includes:
  • HD video content will drive a new level of bandwidth demand, with more than 50 percent of video and audio streaming destined for a connected TV (either directly or indirectly), or mobile devices -- such as smartphones and media tablets.
  • In North America, the ratio between upstream and downstream traffic continues to be strongly represented by downstream traffic, typically at a 10:1 ratio in favor of downstream, but sometimes much more.
  • While Web browsing represents a declining share of traffic across the globe, despite more mobile Internet-enabled devices, there is a more pronounced decline in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Service providers need to deliver more bandwidth, as this growth is necessary to spur new service usage and drive new subscriptions and increase revenue.

2 comments:

InfoStack said...

Why do none of these studies focus on the cost of broadband? Based on industry consolidation (monopoly) and inefficient structure (vertical integration) prices are 20x higher than they should be. The real problem will be 2-WAY HD voice and video and even data. We still can't email 10+ meg files for goodness sakes! Build it and they will come? It (demand) is already there! And all the building pieces are there. http://bit.ly/AzWLF3

David H. Deans said...

Hello Michael, thanks for sharing your perspective.

I've seen a couple of studies that cover these issues -- particularly a price comparison of broadband in the leading global markets.

Regardless, government regulators in markets that don't compete well typically list all the reasons why the service providers in their nation will *never* match the leading nations.

That's why South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore can easily maintain their competitive advantage.