An interesting piece from GigaOm today. In essence, Telegeography reports that the Internet keeps growing at terrific pace, even in mature markets like Canada and the US (54% in 2010). Things get really interesting when you look elsewhere. Less developed markets are positively booming - India and South Asia clocked in with growth rates of over 100%.
GigaOm makes the point that new capacity in these markets, coupled with the happy marriage of wireless network and cheap handsets will continue to drive growth, pointing to some crazy stats on mobile social networking in India. It is estimated that 72 million Indians (that is only 6% of the estimated population in 2008) will be mobile social network users. What about China? Indonesia? Pretty soon we are considering some big numbers.
GigaOm is correct when talking about low cost devices as the availability of low cost devices has proven a key driver in other markets as well. Think about how traffic patterns have changed in North America in the past ten years given a) the ubiquity of network on the wide area and in the metro (Cable, DSL, FTTH, Fiber to the Node, 3G, 4G etc) and b) the relatively low device cost. At $229, I can get a Netbook from Best Buy for less money that I shelled out for 4 MEG of RAM for my 386 in 1993. For $0 I can get a mobile phone that will put me on the internet. Access to technology drives traffic.
The cool part is that these new users are going to drive an incredible amount of development work across the globe. There will be another Facebook and another Twitter - I think that it just a matter of time. Even cooler is the fact that Softlayer gets to play in the sandbox as well.