Private Data Exchange Between Businesses Forecasted to Outpace the Public Internet by Nearly 2x in Growth and 6x in Volume by 2020

The capacity for private data exchange between businesses is outpacing the public Internet, growing at nearly twice the rate and comprising nearly six times the volume of global IP traffic by 2020, according to the Global Interconnection Index, a new market study published by Equinix that analyzed the adoption profile of thousands of carrier-neutral colocation data center providers and ecosystem participants globally.

As business models become increasingly digital, distributed and dependent on the real-time engagement of many more users, partners and service providers, the Index is a powerful new research tool. It highlights how companies are translating digital transformation into action and creating entirely new ways of connecting with their customers, partners and supply chain. The Index will provide an annual baseline to track, measure and forecast the growth of Interconnection Bandwidth, defined as the total capacity provisioned to privately and directly exchange traffic with a diverse set of counterparties and providers at distributed IT exchange points.

“Some of the greatest technology trends of our lifetime, including mobile, social, cloud and the explosion of data, are creating disruption on the scale of the Industrial Revolution,” said Sara Baack, Chief Marketing Officer for Equinix, Inc. “In this new reality, it’s a ‘scale-or-fail’ proposition and companies are succeeding by adopting Interconnection, locating their IT infrastructure in immediate proximity to an ecosystem of companies that gather to physically connect their networks to those of their customers and partners. Interconnection helps fuel digital transformation by supporting multicloud consumption at scale, improving network latency and performance, enabling greater operational control, and reducing security risk.”

According to the Index, Interconnection Bandwidth is expected to grow at a 45 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) to reach 5,000 Tbps by 2020, dwarfing Global IP traffic in both growth (24 percent) and volume (855 Tbps)1. It is also growing faster than Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), the legacy model of business connectivity, by a factor of 10x (45 percent to four percent)2.

Key macroeconomic, technology and regulatory trends that are impacting Interconnection growth include:

  • Digital Technology Use, which forces the need to support real-time interactions requiring more Interconnection Bandwidth. According to Accenture, digital technology use is projected to add US$1.36 trillion in additional economic output in the world’s top 10 economies by 20203.


  • Urbanization, which is transforming global demographics and creating a proximity need for digital services concentrated across metro centers globally. More than two billion people are expected to migrate to major cites by 2035, creating as many as 50 major urban metro hubs4 requiring dense Interconnection fabrics.


  • Cybersecurity Risk, which expands Interconnection consumption as firms increasingly shift to private data traffic exchange to bypass the public Internet and mitigate against digital threats. By 2020, an estimated 60 percent of digital businesses will suffer major service failures5 as breaches permeate across physical and digital platforms.


  • Global Trade of Digitally Deliverable Services, which ushers in a new era of dynamic business processes and demand for Interconnection. Global digital workflows require a global mesh of Interconnected metros to fulfill demand. According to McKinsey6, trade in digitally deliverable services now comprises 50 percent of total services exports globally, with an expected 9x increase by 2020.

Highlights / Key Facts

Global results point to strong double-digit growth in Interconnection Bandwidth

  • The Index provides significant insight into regional differences in how Interconnection is accelerating in different regions of the world. While the U.S. is forecast to have the largest amount of Interconnection Bandwidth, it is the most mature region, and other regions are more rapidly provisioning Interconnection Bandwidth to rival the projected deployment levels in the U.S. The following table outlines projections across all four regions:
Interconnection Installed Bandwidth Capacity (Tbps)
Region 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 CAGR
US  472  654  913  1,275  1,795 40%
EU  335  473  681  987  1,451 44%
AP  246  355  519  759  1,120 46%
LATAM  92  154  249  395  626 62%
Total Region  1,144   1,636   2,363   3,417   4,991  45%


  • The Index also forecasts Interconnection Bandwidth by use case for both enterprises and service providers. The largest use case is associated with traditional IT deployment models, in which businesses connect to network providers as an intermediary path to reach business partners and customers. However, the fastest growing use case is enterprises connecting directly to a range of cloud and IT service providers, confirming the transformational shift of IT infrastructure from centralized, enterprise-owned data centers to decentralized, physically dispersed multicloud environments. The following table outlines projections for the top enterprise and service provider use cases:
Interconnection Installed Bandwidth Capacity (Tbps)
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 CAGR
Enterprise Use Cases
Interconnecting to Network Providers  372  571  880  1,341  1,986 52%
Interconnecting to Cloud & IT Providers  12  31  80  209  547 160%
Interconnecting to Supply Chain Partners  5  9  17  29  45 73%
Service Provider Use Cases
Interconnecting to Network Providers  537  703  913  1,167  1,459 28%
Interconnecting to Cloud & IT Providers  30  50  85  145  248 70%


  • The centricity of digital technology is disrupting how business is done across all industries, forcing companies to invent new, information-centric business models. The Index forecasts the banking and insurance segment will be the largest consumer of Interconnection Bandwidth, as digitization is forcing this industry to support new customer engagement models. Telecommunications is projected to be the second largest segment, with the need to provide coverage in many new locations and support the proliferation of connected devices and sensors. The third largest segment is projected to be cloud and IT services as it provides a critical building block for digital enablement.


Interconnection Installed Bandwidth Capacity (Tbps)
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 CAGR
By Industry
Banking & Insurance  144  230  367  590  958 61%
Telecommunications  319  409  523  662  826 27%
Cloud & IT Services  221  314  445  607  820 39%


Asia-Pacific is seeing rapid acceleration in Interconnection Bandwidth

  • The region is expected to grow more than fourfold between 2016 and 2020, making it the second fastest growing region after Latin America. With an anticipated CAGR of 46 percent, Asia-Pacific is expected to reach more than 1,120 Tbps of installed capacity by the end of this decade – a figure approaching nearly a quarter (22 percent) of Interconnection Bandwidth globally.
  • The Index also reveals the top four metros in Asia-Pacific – Singapore, Sydney, Hong Kong and Tokyo in terms of Interconnection Bandwidth.


Interconnection Installed Bandwidth Capacity (Tbps) – Asia-Pacific
Metro 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 CAGR
Singapore  60 85 122 176 256 43%
Sydney  40 58 83 119 173 44%
Hong Kong  29 43 65 97 149 51%
Tokyo  30 43 62 90 132 45%


  • Singapore is expected to continue to lead the Asia-Pacific region in terms of having the largest Interconnection Bandwidth capacity among major other metros from 2016 to 2020.
  • Across the region, Cloud and IT services providers are predicted to overtake Telecommunications providers as the largest users of Interconnection Bandwidth by 2018. Banking & Insurance, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 71 percent, will share 13 percent of the total Interconnection Bandwidth by 2020, compared to only 7 percent in 2016, making it the third-largest industry in terms of Interconnection Bandwidth consumption by 2020.
  • Other industries expected to experience the explosive growth in Interconnection Bandwidth by 2020 include Energy & Utility (82 percent), Healthcare & Life Sciences (74 percent), Government and Education (69 percent), as well as Business & Professional Services (68 percent).


Interconnection Installed Bandwidth Capacity (Tbps)- Asia-Pacific
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 CAGR
Cloud & IT Services 57 82 120 166 227 42%
Telecommunications 68 86 108 135 166 25%
Banking & Insurance 17 29 50 85 143 71%
Manufacturing 26 39 60 91 140 52%
Securities & Trading 29 40 58 85 127 44%
Energy & Utility 9 16 29 53 93 82%
Business & Professional Services 9 16 26 44 74 68%
Content & Digital Media 21 29 40 52 68 34%
Healthcare & Life Sciences 2 4 6 11 19 74%
Wholesale & Retail Trade 3 5 8 12 19 59%
Government & Education 1 1 2 3 5 69%
Other 5 8 14 22 37 65%
Total Industry 246 355 519 759 1,120 46%


As crucial as Interconnection is to how digital business is conducted, it has never been quantified. The Global Interconnection Index changes this with industry-first projections of how Interconnection growth and access will unfold through 2020. This in-depth view arms businesses with the data-driven insight they need to consider their own Interconnection strategy for digital business success. For the first time, organizations can see multi-dimensional projections of Interconnection Bandwidth requirements by region, industry, use case, firmographics and maturity model.

Industry Perspectives on the Global Interconnection Index

  • Brad Casemore, research director, Datacenter Networks, IDC:

Interconnection is an integral building block for digital business. The Global Interconnection Index provides a barometer of the growing relevance of the need to solve for proximity to digital services across all industries. This need is driven by latency, accelerating time to market and integrating multicloud on a local basis.” 

  • Munu Gandhi, vice president, Core Infrastructure Services, Aon:

The Global Interconnection Index captures a critical component to enabling digital business: Interconnection. Reliable and robust Interconnection capabilities across ecosystems like those outlined in the Index will be increasingly important for companies to enable new paths for global growth and opportunity.”

  • Daniel Kukucka, CEO, Servcorp:

“We are a rapidly evolving organization with a presence in 23 countries and 155 locations all over the world. Being able to leverage the interconnection service and extensive ecosystems offered by Equinix has been a key success factor in our digital transformation journey. By deploying in Equinix data centers in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, as well as the US and UK, we can interconnect with businesses, customers and partners across the globe to remain competitive and innovative. With the Global Interconnection Index predicting that Asia-Pacific’s Interconnection Bandwidth will grow fourfold by 2020, we are well placed to reap the benefits of the growing digital economy.”  

  • Samuel Lee, president of Equinix Asia-Pacific:

“As highlighted in the Global Interconnection Index, the Asia-Pacific region is forecast to outpace both the US and EU in terms of Interconnection Bandwidth by 2020. This is consistent with the economic predictions that show Asia-Pacific will overtake the US and UK as the largest regional economy globally, meaning there has never been a better time for businesses in the region to embrace the multiple opportunities offered by digital transformation.” 

About The Global Interconnection Index

The Global Interconnection Index was developed by creating a market baseline that analyzed the deployment profile of thousands of carrier-neutral colocation data center providers and the participants deployed within them globally across every region and major metro. This data was combined with local and regional market data (including macroeconomic trends, market demographics and industry concentrations), and with key demand drivers of digital business, to form a weighted demand multiplier to assist in predicting growth to factor the impact of digital business transformation. A detailed methodology description is included in the Global Interconnection Index.

Additional Resources



  1. Cisco — Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2016–2021, June 7, 2017
  2. Research and Markets — Global MPLS Market Growth of 4.4 percent CAGR by 2021, September 2016
  3. Accenture Strategy — Digital Density Index: Guiding Digital Transformation
  4. “Connectography” by Parag Khanna, April 19, 2016
  5. Gartner — Special Report: Cybersecurity at the Speed of Digital Business, August 30, 2016 (ID: G00315580)
  6. McKinsey Global Institute — Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows, March 2016

About Equinix

Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) connects the world’s leading businesses to their customers, employees and partners inside the most interconnected data centers. In 44 markets worldwide, Equinix is where companies come together to realize new opportunities and accelerate their business, IT and cloud strategies.

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