Rise in ‘second internet’ to boost London

The growth of a “second internet” over the next few years will see businesses increasingly bypass the public internet and communicate directly with each other in data centres around the world, claims Equinix.

The US multinational, which specialises in global interconnection, predicts that the bandwidth capacity needed for this ‘interconnection’ is set to explode by 2020, growing to over 5,000 terabytes per second (tbps), and dwarfing global internet protocol (IP) traffic both by growth (24%) and by volume (855 tbps).

To put this into context, Equinix says that this will make it possible to:

• Transfer the entire printed content in the US Library of Congress three times in a single second.
• Process nearly 550,000 electronic payments per minute, which based on an average value of $50 equates to $27.5m per minute or $1.6bn per hour.
• Analyse and exchange the DNA sequence of the entire human population in 2.5 hours, unlocking the possibility for new medical treatments and breakthroughs

The group, which this week issues its first global interconnection index (GII) to track the growth of the ‘second internet’, believes certain industries will be particularly impacted.

“The European financial services industry, for example, is set for a 58% growth in interconnection bandwidth, with banking and insurance to see a six-fold increase, catapulting it ahead of Cloud & IT services while telecommunications is narrowly retaining the lead,” it predicts.

Equinix cites as a prime example the collaboration announced last September between the Lloyd’s of London insurance market and catastrophe risk modelling specialist Oasis, a non-profit company. The two jointly launched a catastrophe risk modelling platform using Interconnection bandwidth with one of the key objectives being to achieve a clearer understanding of risk especially in developing countries vulnerable to climate change.

The group also predicts that London will continue to top the global cities leaderboard despite Brexit, by tripling its interconnection bandwidth capacity to 486 tbps. “Not only will this put the British significantly ahead of all other European cities, but it will outshine the likes of New York and Silicon Valley by a whopping 20% and 48% respectively,” it comments

“This also puts London significantly ahead of seventh and eighth placed cities Frankfurt and Amsterdam, the only other two European players scoring in the top 10. However, in a sign that Frankfurt may emerge as a Brexit winner, the German financial centre is poised to overtake Amsterdam, with a jump from 51 tbps to 252 tbps.”

Globally, average interconnection bandwidth capacity ranges from 327 tbps in the US, 275 in Europe, 177.5 in Asia Pacific (APAC) and 108.25 in Latin America, leading to large regional divides across the globe: US versus Europe (26%), US vs APAC (46%) and Europe vs APAC (35%).

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