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Expand chart

A new report from Cisco forecasts an alarmingly slow internet traffic growth rate for Latin America, especially when compared to the other lagging regions, like the Middle East and Africa.

Why it matters: Latin America's lagging internet infrastructure capacity could hamper the deployment of new digital technologies like streaming or self-driving cars.

The details: Latin America is behind its competitors in Europe, North America and Asia in offering more public wi-fi access points and home broadband access, per Cisco's latest Visual Networking Index (VNI).

  • As a result, IPv6 (the most recent version of the Internet Protocol) total internet traffic in Latin America is expected to grow slower than the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) globally.
  • And at a 63% CAGR, it is the only region that's expected to grow more slowly than the global CAGR for internet traffic, which is 77%. By comparison, the Middle East and Africa are expected to grow at a 96% CAGR. More saturated regions, like North America and Asia-Pacific, are expected to grow at a 79% CAGR.

Between the lines: When it comes to internet speed, Latin America is far behind all other regions and will continue to lag over the next five years, per the report.

  • Broadband: By 2022, the global average speed of broadband internet will be 75.4 Mbps. While Asia Pacific and North America are expected to greatly exceed the global average, with 98.8 Mbps and 94 Mbps respectively, Latin America and the Middle East are expected to clock in at 28.1 Mbps and 20 Mbps respectively.
  • Wi-fi: By 2022, the global average speed of wi-fi internet will be 54.2 Mbps. While Asia Pacific and North America are expected to greatly exceed the global average, with 63.3 Mbps and 83.8 Mbps respectively, Latin America and the Middle East are expected to clock in at 16.8 Mbps and 11.2 Mbps, respectively.

Be smart: A weak regulatory framework for increasing connectivity is likely what's to blame for this gap, according to Cisco senior director of technology and spectrum policy Mary Brown.

"If I were a regulator in Latin America, I'd be looking at this data with some degree of concern. Because Latin America is not doing what the Middle East and Africa are doing, which is using regulatory frameworks to create more internet competition."
— Brown

Bottom line: Latin American countries are far behind in creating meaningful internet accessibility policies, especially in comparison to North America, which is so far ahead that it's reaching a point of saturation.

  • "U.S. policymakers have done a much better job of getting wired networks out to U.S. households relative to almost any other economy on the planet," says Brown.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.