The surge in popularity of online gaming is having an impact on the overall growth of internet usage, which increased by around 50 per cent in the past 12-18 months.

That's according to Vlad Ihora, head of gaming at TeliaSonera International Carrier, who told that ISPs are now being more proactive about making sure gamers are getting a good service.

"You get companies not related to gaming which are interested in hooking up to our network because there are certain games which run on our network that make it relevant for end-users," he said, referring to the fact that the company looks after Blizzard Europe's networking solutions for World of Warcraft.

"Maybe a few years ago if you'd tried to pitch something like that to new telco organisations they wouldn't have been receptive - but not any more. This is a reason why the growth of online gaming is linking into the big circle of internet growth itself, and I find that really interesting.

"ISPs are paying so much more attention these days as to how they can best serve the end-users that are online gamers, by making sure that their connections to the internet pipelines are adapted in such a way that users won't get upset about lag, or packet loss, and so on."

Ihora was also positive about the games industry's chances in a tough economic climate.

"I think I'd be pinned to the wall if I said everyone should invest in the internet because it's the safest industry," he smiled, "but to a certain extent I would say it's the industry that can weather the storm, quite easily.

"It's not like certain of our customers aren't feeling it already, but investments in, or maintaining of internet presence or services that people use from our side are essential. The internet is no longer a luxury to have, or experiment in - it's a really established sector, and this sector will only benefit from a streamlining of costs in other sectors which are far more exposed to general changes."

The full interview with Vlad Ihora, in which he also talks about the development of broadband infrastructure in emerging markets and the inevitability of digital distribution, is available now.