Strong Growth of Broadband Due to the Effects of the Pandemic


Strong Growth of Broadband Due to the Effects of the Pandemic

In Latin America and the Caribbean, international Internet bandwidth grew 32% in 2020. These are the results of the report titled “Networks in the Time of Coronavirus” presented during the LACNIC 34 LACNOG 2020 event by Anahí Rebatta, research analyst at TeleGeography.

Worldwide, in 2020 Internet bandwidth grew 35%, although experts had anticipated that deployed capacity would increase by 26%, Rebatta noted.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, this growth allowed the region to reach 69 Tbps (terabytes per second), according to the report prepared by the expert for TeleGeography, a telecommunications market research company.

According to this report, 2020 has seen the largest one-year increase in broadband traffic since 2013.

“Operators deployed approximately 8% more capacity than they had originally anticipated, and we believe this was in response to the abrupt and unexpected increase in traffic caused by the pandemic.”

Every region reported higher traffic than expected, with Latin America and the Caribbean showing the largest differences between expected and actual traffic.

“The biggest lesson that the telecommunications industry in particular has learned from the pandemic is that we rely immensely on both subsea and terrestrial infrastructure to continue communicating and that we must be prepared for future events of similar magnitude,” Rebatta noted.

According to the global Internet TeleGeography report, 70% of operators had to accelerate their domestic and international capacity upgrades and increase their IP transit purchases.

International deployment. Rebatta presented a graph showing the impact of the pandemic on international connectivity worldwide and in Latin America.

Nearly 618 Tbps were deployed in mid-2020, representing a 35% annual increase driven by the pandemic.

In the different regions, traffic grew faster than capacity and in fact Latin America had the largest difference of all the regions.

Dependence on the United States. Rebatta also shared a map showing how connectivity in Latin America depends on the United States. “In 2020, the top five IP international capacity routes in the region were all connected to the United States,” she explained.

Likewise, she added that the Brazil-U.S. route had about 20 Tbps and became the highest-capacity route in Latin America and the second highest in the world. As for transport pricing, she observed that this year the price of transport had dropped 30% for Latin America.  

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