Internet Statistics

From the time I started the ARPANET in 1969, I have been keeping track of the traffic. The traffic has grown by about a trillion to one over the intervening 40 years. For the first 20 years the Internet backbone remained based on the ARPANET Interface Message Processors (IMPs). Then as the Internet went comericial in 1991, many new makes of routers were used, although they have continued to use the same basic structure. 
The community of users also grew rapidly, but they never had to move off the network. The underlying packet network is mostly invisable to the users so that even as the protocol changed from NCP to TCP/IP in 1983 and the equipment changed from time to time, the user community just continued to grow without interuption. Many of us have now been using the Internet without interuption for 40 years.
For the period from 1969 to 1990 the government, either DARPA or NSF, kept accurate records of the network traffic. Then, when many different commericial organizations interconnected to form the Internet backbone in the 1990's, there were no accurate records since each company kept their own traffic confidential. Thus, from 2000 to 2001, I undertook to determine the total traffic by collecting traffic data under NDA's with the 20 major Internet backbone providers. This provided sufficient data so that the intervening years traffic could be interperlated. Then, more recently, most every country in the world has been reporting their traffic so that the traffic in the inbetween years could again be interperlated. This is how the data below was collected and put together.
The volume data is in petabytes per month where a petabyte per month is equal to 1,000 terabytes per month. Also listed is the speed data which is in Gigabits per second at peak hour. The relationship between Gigabits/second and petabytes/month varies over the history of the network as the useage pattern spread out as people worked at night and in many time zones. 

Internet Traffic

Internet Traffic in PetaBytes/month and in peak Gigabits/second
Collected by L. Roberts
Copyright 2009 L.G. Roberts

Year PB/month Peak Gbps
1970 2.569E-09 3.303E-08
1971 4.952E-09 7.330E-08
1972 9.176E-09 1.336E-07
1973 1.457E-08 2.195E-07
1974 2.111E-08 3.235E-07
1975 2.911E-08 4.510E-07
1976 3.886E-08 6.062E-07
1977 5.066E-08 8.038E-07
1978 7.049E-08 1.090E-06
1979 9.466E-08 1.475E-06
1980 1.240E-07 1.942E-06
1981 1.657E-07 2.600E-06
1982 2.233E-07 3.959E-06
1983 6.527E-07 9.087E-06
1984 1.453E-06 2.171E-05
1985 3.401E-06 5.292E-05
1986 1.079E-05 1.687E-04
1987 4.916E-05 6.922E-04
1988 1.772E-04 2.573E-03
1989 6.150E-04 8.388E-03
1990 0.001479 0.02181
1991 0.003564 0.05190
1992 0.008162 0.1184
1993 0.01825 0.2645
1994 0.04201 0.6128
1995 0.1192 1.496
1996 0.3638 3.804
1997 1.177 9.779
1998 3.962 24.26
1999 13.86 63.69
2000 44.95 198.7
2001 139.4 526.8
2002 278.2 1,089
2003 536.0 2,108
2004 1,052 4,070
2005 2,023 7,725
2006 3,342 12,761
2007 4,957 18,928
2008 7,468 28,516
2009 10,598 40,468