How big is the Internet?

Sean Donelan sean at
Thu Aug 15 04:19:38 UTC 2013

On Wed, 14 Aug 2013, Patrick W. Gilmore wrote:
> It is actually even harder than the above illustrates. Most people 
> define "Mbps on the Internet" as inter-AS bits. But then what about 
> Akamai AANP nodes, Google GGC nodes, Netflix Open Connect nodes, etc.? 
> They are all inside the AS. Given that Akamai claims to be 20% of all 
> broadband traffic, Google is on the same order, and NF claims to be 30% 
> of US peak-evening traffic, it seems like it would be foolish to ignore 
> this traffic.
> I could go on, but you get the point. Definitions are a bitch.

Some of that may help explain why the Internet traffic estimates seem to 
be too high or too low since about 2007. The primary data sources for
the Internet traffic estimates seem to be mostly Internet backbones and 
Internet exchange points.

I hadn't been paying attention until I looked at a bunch of companies' 
investor filings this week because the size of the Internet was in the 
news.  If you add up the percentages that companies are telling investors 
and policy makers, you end up with more than 100%. Most of the 
companies' investor reports don't explain % of what.  But the few that
do, end up pointing back to the same traffic forecast reports.  That 
doesn't even get to the "long tail" of small providers that don't report 

Either there is a lot of traffic missing, or market concentration is much 
greater than assumed.

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