As Africa Gets Online, Europe Emerges As The New Global Internet Traffic Hub

He also expressed frustration at Russia’s refusal to cut the price of the gas it sells to Ukraine and said Kiev may have to reduce further the volume of its gas imports. Ukraine’s pro-Europe drive has already drawn threats of counter-measures from Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as pressure on Kiev to join the Customs Union. Speaking after Azarov on Saturday, Sergei Glazyev, an aide to Putin, returned to the attack, saying that Russia might be obliged to impose duties on any goods arriving from Ukrainian territory, at a huge financial cost to Ukraine. Saying 40 percent of Ukrainians had doubts over the agreements with the EU, Glazyev, who has made hawkish comments before about Ukraine’s pro-Europe policy, urged the Kiev government to ballot its people. “Let us … ask the Ukrainian people what choice they prefer,” he said. TYMOSHENKO RELEASE Azarov had sharp words for Russia over its refusal to cut the price of its gas, which hangs heavy on Ukraine’s cash-strapped economy. Ukraine pays what it sees as an exorbitant $400 per thousand cubic meters under a 2009 contract, which Russia has refused to redraw. In a bid to break away from reliance on Russia, Ukraine hopes to find alternative energy sources through shale gas exploration and imports from other sources. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Friday reiterated that Kiev was committed to signing the agreements with the EU at a November 28 summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, marking a pivotal shift away from Russia. But he refused to say whether he would free his jailed political rival, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who the EU says is a victim of ‘selective justice’.

The company released a study Wednesday that shows how more and more cables are connecting in Europe because of the availability of large exchanges such as the Amsterdam and Frankfurt Internet exchanges. From the story: Europe is an attractive Internet hub because it is home to many large carriers and major Internet exchanges, and IP transit prices are among the lowest in the world, said TeleGeography analyst Paul Brodsky. New cable builds in Africa and the Middle East have enabled international operators to access inexpensive IP transit directly in European cities instead of connecting much further to the U.S. Subscribe to gigaom.com Overall the growth of global bandwidth is slowing, but operators still are adding 26 Tbps of capacity this year, more than even existed in 2009. But as the growth slows, the center of the bandwidth universe is shifting. International internet capacity connected to Europe increased by 18.5 Tbps in 2013, growing most rapidly between Europe and Africa. Europe now accounts for 94 percent of international internet bandwidth connected to North Africa, up from 61 percent ten years ago, and 72 percent of bandwidth connected to Sub-Saharan Africa, up from 39 percent a decade ago. Growth in European connectivity is equally sharp for the Middle East, which has seen its bandwidth connected to Europe increase from 51 percent to 85 percent in the past ten years. So Europe is in the right place for internet growth in the rest of the world, but its prices for transit are also lower because so many providers connect at internet exchange points on the continent. That competition between IXPs tends to lead to lower pricing. Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:

What Europe can teach us about keeping the Internet open and free

As the market flourished with more ISPs, according to the New America Foundation’s Danielle Kehl, some of those providers even began building their own Internet infrastructure that could compete with the big carriers. As a result, a 100 megabit-per-second, triple-play bundle now costs around $35 which is 17 times as fast and roughly half as expensive as the most cost-effective Internet plan in the United States. The U.S. market could have turned out much like that. In fact, with the telephone industry, it did. But then the FCC decided not to regulate broadband the same way. Whereas telecom providers had to practice unbundling, Internet providers didn’t the better to encourage them to build more infrastructure , or so the logic went. If all the companies expected to freeload, nobody would take the responsibility to lay the cables. Today, that means every ISP owns its own network. But it also means there are fewer competitors in the marketplace. “In the year 2000, there were 9,000 ISPs in the United States,” Kehl told me. After the FCC steered clear of unbundling for broadband, she said, the number fell by 74 percent to less than 2,500 in 2005. Now that the market for broadband has become so empty, net neutrality is one of the few policies that can keep the Internet open and affordable, Kehl said.