The huge boom in internet activity over the last few years is leading to many new challenges for regulators and enterprises that rely on the web to do business. This is according to the ITU – the United Nations agency for global information and communication technology. Its latest report paints a picture of an increasingly complex environment due to the much greater amount of connectivity in today’s world.
Jump in data volumes
The study highlights just how quickly technology markets around the world are evolving. Rapid adoption of broadband has led to global IP traffic jumping from one petabyte 20 years ago to an estimated 44,000 petabytes at the end of last year. To put this in context, the ITU explained that if this were to be downloaded over a typical 10Mbps connection, it would take 1,100 years. However, the surge in growth is expected to gain pace. In 2013 alone, IP traffic is expected to grow by 14 exabytes a month – more than twice the total traffic for the decade from 1994 to 2003.
Impact on websites
The ITU estimated more than 2.7 billion people will be connected to the internet by the end of this year, while the total number of applications downloaded with surpass 50 billion. What this may mean for owners of web sites is they will have to ensure they have adequate bandwidth available to cope with increased demand, while they will also have to ensure their websites are tailored to work properly with the new generation of mobile devices.
The largest data volumes will be associated with file sharing, video streaming, video calling and online gaming, so businesses for which these are important activities will have to be especially sure their infrastructure is up to the challenge.
It was also noted by the ITU that many countries will have to adapt the regulations that govern the use of connected technology as the long-term trends shift towards globalised services. Topics such as net neutrality will be high on the agenda for many nations in the coming years as new solutions must be found to the challenges posed by the changing environment.