A new survey from the European Commission (EC) has found that businesses are not investing enough in their internet infrastructure.
Few companies are prepared for IPv6, according to the IPv6 Deployment Monitoring Survey (PDF), despite the fact that allocations for IPv4 addresses are due to run out in 2011.
Just 17 per cent of companies, including internet service providers (ISPs), had invested in IPv6, and the EC warned that a timely deployment is vital to the growth and stability of the internet.
IPv6 is the next-generation version of the Internet Protocol, and is designated as the successor to IPv4.
The numbers for IPv6 adoption are not impressive. The survey found that just 17 per cent of the 610 respondents are currently using IPv6. Surprisingly, 92 per cent of ISPs have no IPv6 in use, and are reporting "insignificant" IPv6 traffic.
Almost two-thirds admitted that they had not invested because they could see no business need. This is despite the fact that just under a third of all European respondents are aware of the time/address pressures associated with IPv4.
"In the last 10 years, the internet has become hugely important worldwide from a socio-economic perspective," said Detlef Eckert, a director in the EC's information society and media directorate-general.
"Only by ensuring that all devices connected to the internet are compatible with IPv6 can we stay connected and safeguard sustainable growth of the internet and the global digital economy, now and in the years to come."
Ripe, the non-profit regional internet registry, also co-operated in the survey, and its managing director warned that a failure to adopt IPv6 quickly would leave companies at a disadvantage.
"If organisations fail to adopt IPv6 in time, their customers, partners and other key stakeholders may be unable to access critical services," said Axel Pawlik, managing director of Ripe.
"This could have hugely detrimental social and economic implications for us all. Organisations should now make IPv6 adoption a priority in order to protect the future growth of the internet and ensure access for all."
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