The European Commission's (EC's) digital chief has urged organisations to begin upgrading their networks to run IPv6 addresses as soon as possible, or risk stifling innovation on the internet.
Speaking at the German IPv6 Summit 2011, the EC vice president for the digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, warned that with the current addressing system set to run out soon, work to upgrade must begin now.
"In Europe, total depletion of IPv4 addresses is just around the corner. The solution is to have a larger address space – now. And that means IPv6," she said.
"There is still a big challenge to tackle: the uptake of IPv6 remains slow, too slow. We need to act now. The longer we wait, the more it will cost us."
She added that while the growth in demand for internet connectivity has the potential to help the internet continue to drive innovation, this will suffer if there are a lack of available addresses.
"People are demanding access to content anywhere, any time, and on any device. All these developments put greater demands on our networks and require ever-higher performance," she said.
"The internet cannot adjust to these developments – it cannot continue to grow and function properly without sufficient IP addresses."
Kroes said it is important for the public sector to lead the way on this push to the new address system, explaining the EC itself has migrated from IPv4 during the summer.
"I want public authorities to take a lead. All public bodies should be IPv6-accessible as soon as possible. The commission's own web site already is, since this year's world IPv6 day [on 8 June]," she said.
The call to action from the EC comes after the UK's internet minister, Ed Vaizey, issued a similar rallying cry to businesses to embrace IPv6 at a time when firms are seemingly apathetic about addressing the issue.
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