Source: GLOBAL INTERNET GEOGRAPHY
The year 2021 may be remembered as the year that the internet returned to normal—however one may choose to define that. After a tumultuous 2020, in which the COVID-19 pandemic caused internet traffic patterns to shift and volumes to surge, network operators returned to the business of adding bandwidth and engineering their traffic in a more measured manner. In our Global Internet Geography Research Service, we analyze the meaning of our robust internet capacity and traffic data sets. We also discuss factors impacting IP transit pricing, and the role individual backbone operators play. Based on hard survey data gathered from dozens of regional and global network operators around the world, we conclude that COVID-related expansion of internet traffic and bandwidth was largely a one-off phenomenon, and that the trends we had been observing in recent years have reasserted themselves. International internet bandwidth and traffic growth had been gradually slowing in recent years, but they remain brisk. IP transit price declines continue globally, but significant regional differences in prices remain.