Nothing Can Stop Internet’s Phenomenal Growth

Nothing will stop the exponential growth of the Internet. Not consistent poverty nor years of the deepest global recession in generations, according to a new report.

This growth resulted from large numbers of citizens in Asia and the Middle East finding access to information infrastructure, even when lacking clean running water or electricity in their homes.

The report, put out by TeleGeography Research/PrimeMetrica, claims that Internet traffic and bandwidth capacity added in 2010 already almost equals the entirety of bandwidth and traffic for 2008. Most of that growth occurred in South Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, where Internet use grew at a 95 percent average over the past year.

“People who live without clear water or electricity, without any real infrastructure, are using cell phones. They plug it in at work, and use it in ways that we can’t even imagine,” said Raissa D’Souza, a professor of computational science at the University of California, Davis.

“The demand for information is greater than the demand for clean running water and electricity. People are OK without electrical infrastructure if they can access information at some other time. They’re not getting running water, but they’re getting information.”

Often without laptops, easily available Wi-Fi and facing some of the highest prices for connectivity in the world, citizens in those developing nations use basic cell phones as their gateway to the Internet, D’Souza told TechNewsDaily. And not in the form of smart phones browsing the World Wide Web, either, but as tools for ecommerce, file sharing and email.

The report also indicates that the level of market saturation in these areas remains well below North America, East Asia and Western Europe, indicating that this growth can continue for some time, regardless of the wider financial situation.

In fact, the world financial crisis may have even helps spur the spread of Internet use, said D’Souza.

“In some ways, it might even be linked to the recession, because we have to browse more widely to find opportunities, but that seems like a second or third order effect.”

Stuart Fox currently researches and develops physical and digital exhibit experiences at the Science Liberty Center. His news writing includes the likes of several Purch sites, including Live Science and Live Science's Life's Little Mysteries.