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Global Internet usage to reach a zettabyte in 2016

The world's Internet usage saw a significant growth with the advent of smart mobile devices and the way in which consumers and businesses quickly incorporated them into their daily lives.

This year many companies are focused on expanding their web presence by developing and investing in IOT devices. These new connected gadgets along with tablets, smart watches, wearables, and mobile phones are set to greatly increase internet traffic in the coming years.

Cisco Systems, the largest supplier of routers and switching gear in the world, has just released a new forecast stating that Internet traffic will pass the zettabye mark this year according to a survey from the Visual Networking Index which compiles information regarding global internet statistics. It is also predicted that this number will double again in 2019.

Unlike gigabyte and terabyte, zettabyte is a number that most internet users are unfamiliar with. A zettabyte is equal to one billion terabytes or one trillion gigabytes and is written as a 1 followed by 21 zeroes.

Mobile data use is what has caused this seismic shift in global internet traffic. Cisco is predicting that 70 per cent of the world's population or about 5.5 billion people will have a mobile device by the year 2020. The amount of mobile data used is growing twice as fast as the world's population growth as more and more consumers have begun to have multiple devices on their persons and in their homes that are connected to the internet.

Africa and the Middle East are the two regions where Internet use is growing the fastest with a combined annual growth rate of 44 per cent. Central and Eastern Europe have the second fastest growth rate at 33 per cent followed by Asia and other Pacific regions which have a growth rate of 21 per cent a year, likely due to the already high adoption level of mobile devices in those regions.

Cisco's report could serve as a warning to telecoms that will have to invest and expand their networks to keep up with the world's growing Internet usage and need for mobile data.

Photo source: Shutterstock/Toria

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.