Netherlands falls further behind on IPv6

Around the world, the adoption of IPv6 is gathering pace. That's clear from figures published by Google, from data gathered by the AMS-IX internet hub and from RIPE-NCC statistics. Meanwhile, the latest updates [1, 2, 3] from the World IPv6 Launch reveal how big telecoms operators in Latin America, the UK, China, Russia and Vietnam are upgrading their networks to IPv6.




Sounding the alarm

In the Netherlands, however, migration to IPv6 still doesn't seem to be happening. In the recently published IPv6 Inventory, we drew attention to the Netherlands' sluggish adoption of IPv6 and the implications for our innovation and investment climate. According to Google, neighbouring Belgium was Europe's leading IPv6 nation, with an adoption rate of 55 per cent. Now the latest Google statistics reveal that in Germany use of IPv6 has jumped from 38 to 41 per cent in the space of just four months, while the Netherlands has simply marked time. At 14 per cent, Dutch IPv6 use is on a par with Europe's most peripheral countries. APNIC's regional heat map for Western Europe shows clearly how badly we're doing compared with neighbouring countries.


New élan

Along with the Forum for Standardisation and the Platform for Internet Standards (which has taken over the old IPv6 Task Force's promotional role), we are strong supporters of the further rollout of IPv6. Eighteen months ago, for example, we introduced a financial incentive for registrars, which brought about a big rise in the number of Dutch DNS, web and mail servers with IPv6 addresses.

Nevertheless, we believe that more needs to be done, not least because of the great importance of the internet infrastructure to the Dutch economy. Although we are generally very wary of regulation, it is now clear that something must be done to break the impasse.

Economic importance

Not enough progress is being made in the transition to IPv6, given the internet infrastructure's growing importance for the country,

The demand for IP addresses is accelerating at a rate not anticipated just a few years ago. It is undesirable to postpone migration until the availability of IPv4 addresses starts to hold back service innovation. Furthermore, IPv4 is an old standard and poorly equipped to support future innovation, in contrast to IPv6.

the Dutch finance ministry has concluded.

Commercial interests play a determining role in terms of shaping what the industry does when it comes to following technological developments, and in terms of applications in the various social and economic sectors. It's disappointing to see migration to IPv6 subordinated to such interests, with the result that companies aren't investing the capital or the time needed to bring about transition. The government therefore plans to look at the options for getting market players to move IPv6 up the agenda. There is more at stake here than the market players' direct commercial interests. We have to consider the implications for the wider economy as well, with a view to realising the objectives set out in the Digitisation Strategy, for example.


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