The Internet has become dominated by a small number of giant firms, with Google now the largest source of web traffic, according to a new report. Arbor Networks’ 2009 Internet Observatory Report found that five years ago, Internet traffic was proportionally distributed among tens of thousands of networks. Two years ago, 15,000 networks accounted for about 50% of online traffic. Today, 100 networks out of over 35,000 contribute 60% of all online traffic. The largest source of traffic is Google, which accounts for 6% of all Internet traffic globally, the report found.
The University of Michigan and Merit Network also contributed to the study, which looked at 256 exabytes of Internet traffic over the two years.
Arbor also uncovered an ongoing decline in the price of data transit, from $120/Mbps in 2003 to $12/Mbps to an estimated $1.20/Mbps in 2014.
The report attributed this change largely to changing economics, the collapse of wholesale IP transit and the rise of ad-driven business models.
“The Internet is a lot flatter today, more densely connected,” said Danny McPherson, VP and CSO of Arbor Networks.
Video has also risen rapidly, accounting for between 25% and 40% of web traffic, the report found.
The Arbor report also highlighted how internet applications have essentially migrated to the web. Previously there were almost as many application-specific protocols and communication stacks as there were developers, but today most have moved to a small number of web and video protocols, one of the most notable being Flash.
Craig Labovitz, the Arbor’s chief scientist, said: “The first 12 years of the internet was all about getting homes and businesses connected. That was the technology and that was the story. Now connectivity is ubiquitous and prices are falling and the innovation is happening not there but in content – getting it closer to the consumer and business,” “As content is getting faster and better quality it will change the face of the internet, which is exciting for enterprises and consumers. We are entering the second era of the internet.”
2009 Internet Observatory Report