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EU sets ambitious IPv6 target

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The European Commission is pushing for 25 per cent of the bloc's government bodies, industry and public to switch to IPv6 by 2010, amid warnings that the current IPv4 protocol is fast running out of net addresses.

Doom-mongers have said for years that a shortage of the current generation of addresses will soon limit the growth of the internet unless ISPs and governments make a concerted effort to encourage upgrades. About 16 per cent of the 4.3 billion total IPv4 numbers remain available.

Now Viviane Reding, the EU's combative Commissioner for Information and Society, has added her voice to the growing collywobbles.

She said in a statement today: "In the short term, businesses and public authorities might be tempted to try to squeeze their needs into the strait jacket of the old system, but this would mean Europe is badly placed to take advantage of the latest internet technology, and could face a crisis when the old system runs out of addresses."

The growth of the internet in China and India online is pressing the need to switch. In a bid to kickstart Europe's drive, Reding is seeking commitments from the continent's top 100 website operators to be among the early adopters for her 2010 milestone.

She's set to bang the IPv6 drum at an event for major IT and telecoms players at an event in Brussels on Friday.

Happily for those of us at Vulture Central who must regularly brave the EU's Byzantine web-hell Europa.eu, Reding reports that it, at least, will be IPv6-compatible by 2010. ®

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