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U.S. No Longer Internet Central

U.S. No Longer Internet Central

There was a time when most of the world’s Internet traffic passed through the US. But that’s changing rapidly, according to a new study from communication analysts TeleGeography Research. Instead, there’s been a big rise in Internet capacity in other parts of the world over the last year, particularly in Latin American and Asia.

The Guardian reports that the survey of global Internet backbone providers looked at the size, capacity and traffic of Internet connections, and discovered some seismic shifts. Where 91% of Asian data passed through the US in 1999, that figure is now just 54%. For Africa the amount has shifted from 70% to just 6%.

Eric Schoonover, a senior analyst at TeleGeography, explained:

"There used to be a phenomenon on the internet called ‘tromboning’. If I were sitting in Singapore or South Africa and I sent an email to a friend three houses down, it was just as likely that the email was going to traverse New York City as somewhere local.”

"What we see now is that phenomenon becoming less and less apparent as more local hubs and internet exchanges crop up in Latin America, in Asia and a few in Africa."

Greater global capacity means more people around the world accessing the Internet, which actually makes it more stable, since it’s now less reliant on a single hub. Even North America and Europe is showing signs of increased Internet growth after some slow expansion, with growth rates for last year at 63%.

"The US and Europe, just by the nature of scale, had started to flatten out – but even in the last year those have re-accelerated," Schoonover said. "In Asia and Latin America, growth rates are through the roof and Africa is starting from such a low base, they can’t help but to grow very, very quickly."

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