IDC Finds that Broadband Adoption Will Drive Internet Traffic Growth

FRAMINGHAM, MA – FEBRUARY 27, 2003 – IDC predicts that the volume of Internet traffic generated by end users worldwide will nearly double annually over the next five years, increasing from 180 petabits per day in 2002 to 5,175 petabits per day by the end of 2007. To put these figures into perspective, the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress amounts to only 10 terabytes of information. By 2007, IDC expects Internet users will access, download, and share the information equivalent of the entire Library of Congress more than 64,000 times over, every day.


"Some industry observers have speculated that slowing growth in Internet traffic is at the root of the current telecom malaise, but IDC research shows that not only is Internet traffic growth strong, but it will continue at near triple digit rates over the next five years," said Sterling Perrin, senior research analyst, Optical Networks at IDC.

This has some interesting implications for telecommunications equipment suppliers, particularly in the optical market. "As long as the total amount of voice and data traffic on the network continues to increase, then the need will arise for carriers to buy equipment, such as next-generation optical, that transports and manages it cheaper and more efficiently than the earlier generation of pure SONET-based products," said Perrin.

The IDC study finds that, although growth in the number of Internet users will continue to be an important traffic driver, the migration of those Internet users to bigger access pipes will be even more significant. In particular, broadband adoption by consumers around the world will make this the fastest growing and largest segment in terms of Internet traffic volume generated. By 2007, IDC believes that consumers will account for 60% of all Internet traffic generated, versus roughly 40% for business users. Mobile Internet users are expected to have only a minimal impact on overall traffic volume during the forecast period.

IDC’s recently released study, Worldwide Bandwidth End-User Forecast and Analysis, 2003-2007: More is Still Not Enough (IDC #28875) provides a five-year forecast of global Internet traffic growth over the next five years, broken down by business, consumer, and mobile user segments. The study, which quantifies how much Internet traffic will be generated by end-users, draws on a wealth of IDC survey data including IDC's Internet Commerce Market Model, version 8.3, as well as IDC’s forecasts for broadband and mobile access

For additional information about this study, please contact IDC analyst Sterling Perrin at 508-988-6989 or

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC’s customers comprise the world’s leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world’s leading IT media, research, and exposition company.


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