Lightning Fast Internet Is Coming - Are You Ready?
June 12, 2017

Steve Brown
Viavi Solutions

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Network capacity is the lifeblood of an enterprise — bandwidth enables business.

If you're ever in doubt, just recall what it's like when there is an outage or a major slow-down. Disgruntled employees, frustrated network pros ... it's no wonder that around half of IT staff from network or system admins to VP level and higher all cite network slow-downs as one of their biggest challenges.

Getting the most out of the network is a fine balancing act, so it's understandable that enterprises are always hungry for more bandwidth. Two out of three IT and network professionals expect bandwidth usage to increase by up to 50% by the end of 2017.

Thankfully there are great leaps of progress afoot when it comes to broadband connectivity. Bandwidth availability issues that enterprises routinely face could become a thing of the past. We are on the cusp of a great surge of capacity as gigabit speed internet becomes a reality. In fact, there are already more than 600 deployments of gigabit internet globally.

The mind-boggling speed of gigabit internet is often explained in the number of seconds it would take to, say, download an HD movie (less than 5). But while we can all appreciate the entertainment possibilities, let's not forget its importance from an enterprise perspective. Speeds and capacity on this scale have the power to transform businesses and disrupt business models, as we are already seeing with the advent of virtual reality, augmented reality and the IoT.

Wouldn't it be great to track the development of super-fast broadband deployments as they happen? Viavi thought so. Using publicly available data, we built a visual, living database of gigabit deployments around the world: the Gigabit Monitor. Here's what we found.

The Need for Speed

While fiber makes up the lion's share of deployments (no surprise), there is strong evidence pointing to the scale of cellular gigabit connectivity changing significantly. Currently, we know that 25 mobile operators are lab-testing 5G, and 12 of those have progressed to field trials.

It's fascinating to speculate how such a shift will change public services, manufacturing and retail to name but a few industries. 5G is coming and businesses need to be ready for it.

Digital Transformation

Gigabit deployments have risen at a rate of 72 percent in the past year. This is higher than even we expected. Businesses who are interested in checking the progress of gigabit connectivity by region, provider or technology type can now easily do so. As businesses increasingly adopt agile methods and implement digital transformation, gigabit speeds will be a key enabler.

A Mixed Bag for US Business

Globally, over 219 million people have gigabit speeds available to them. The US leads the way with around 57 percent of deployments. This translates to over 56 million people in the US having gigabit broadband available to them, but that accounts for only 17 percent of the overall US population. Contrast this with the next highest ranking country for deployments, South Korea, whose installations cover slightly less than 10 million people, fewer than the US, but have achieved 93 percent population coverage.

We are still at the very start of the gigabit revolution. Just 3.1 percent of the world's population are able to access gigabit internet currently, but those penetration levels are changing rapidly. New deployments are being reported all the time, and LTE and 5G installations are expected in the very near future. The impact on the day-to-day running of business networks will be transformative, powering an explosion in application innovation and disrupting business models.

Steve Brown is Director of Enterprise Solutions at Viavi Solutions
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