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Lack of transparency of the Internet infrastructure can lead to investment inefficiencies

While network operators are fierce competitors, the nature of the Internet dictates that they must also co-operate, and there is a need for technical co-ordination to ensure efficient inter-networking. Several participants within IG circle stressed that the lack of information in the public domain in the telecommunication and Internet sectors led to large inefficiencies in these markets during the “Internet bubble”. For example, in the late 1990s, network operators invested in capacity far ahead of demand, and largely on the same routes, while there was a lack of capacity on other routes.

If markets had been better informed of factors such as the growth and nature of traffic, better decisions and outcomes could have been possible. A lack of such information can be a barrier or deterrent to investors, whether they are private sector operators, governments, aid agencies, or others who may wish to invest in networks. The importance of preserving the confidentiality of commercial information for efficiency and security reasons was noted. However, participants agreed that greater amounts of data at an aggregated level should be available to researchers, capital markets, policy makers and so forth.

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