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Epicenter The Business of Tech
Internet Growing Like Its 2001 All Over Again

fiber_opticsYour local cable company might like to talk about looming internet brownouts in order to convince you to pay for all those internet videos endangering its television revenues, but research shows again that the tubes just keep getting wider and wider.

Global internet traffic grew a robust 64 percent in 2008, and global backbone providers plan to lay 16 underseas cables in 2009 — more than put down in the last year of the telecom bubble in 2001, according to new data from telecom research firm Telegeography. 2008 saw 15 new underseas cables, as well.

As for the domestic pipes? 60 percent of the U.S. network operators that the firm interviewed said they would be putting new fibers into use in 2009.

But it’s not another boom-and-bust cycle, according to Telegeography’s Alan Mauldin.

“While the number of cables being laid is impressive, this current batch of new cables won’t break the bank,” said Mauldin, who noted that the newest build-outs were shorter and technologically simpler than those in 2001.

The firm estimates that the new cables will cost only $2.6 billion, compared to 2001’s $13.5 billion.

Moral of the story? Keep on watching South Park videos online, ’cause if they run out of bandwidth, they’ll build more.

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