At a compound annual growth rate of 44 per cent, India will lead the world in Internet Protocol (IP) traffic growth in the next five years, predicts the annual Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast released on Tuesday.
At the rate at which it is expanding, India’s IP traffic will grow six-fold to 33.5 exabytes by 2017.
The report also predicts that by this time, global traffic will be around 1.4 zettabytes. In comparison, a total of around 1.2 zettabytes traversed global networks through all the ‘Internet years’ between 1984 and 2012. (One zettabyte equals 1,024 exabytes)
The report also adds that while global broadband speeds will increase 3.5 fold from 11.3 Mbps in 2012 to 39 Mbps in 2017, average speed in India will rise only to 7 Mbps from the 1.9 Mbps now.
Releasing the report, Robert Pepper, Cisco’s vice-president for global technology policy, said this burst in the demand for data would put a lot of pressure on networks, requiring more investment in infrastructure.
Another startling projection of the report is that there will be around 3.6 billion Internet users in 2017. This is about 48 per cent of the world’s population. In India, there will be 348 million users, up from the 138 million in 2012.
This is a conservative estimate when compared to the 600 million users being projected by some studies. At present, there are 2.3 billion Internet users globally – about 32 per cent of the population.
Despite the growth in adoption of smartphones, feature phones will account of 62 per cent of all connected devices in 2017. However, smartphones will be consuming more data that these 2G phones. By then India would have two billion networked devices at 1.4 networked devices per capita.
“Feature phones are being leapfrogged by smartphones which are becoming increasingly cheap. The prices of 3G devices are coming down very fast and there might not be any point in buying a feature phone any longer,” said Mr. Pepper.
No doubt ‘affordability’ means being able to buy the device as well as to pay for its usage every month. India has been driving the market in both spheres.
A driver for growth of data traffic across the world will be video with three trillion Internet video minutes being generated per month in 2017. In India, there will be 113 million Internet video users (excluding mobile-only) in 2017, up from 16 million in 2012, says the report.
Listing the challenges for countries like India, Pepper said peak hour traffic, which will be considerably more that average traffic, will start putting more pressure on the infrastructure.
In India, busy hour Internet traffic will reach 23 Tbps in 2017, the equivalent of 19,540,000 people streaming Internet HD video simultaneously. In fact, the report ushers in the concept for Internet Prime Time, between 9 pm to 1 am, just as television has.