Public policies to deploy IPv6 in developing countries: Successful international experiences

20 Dec 2017 09:00h - 10:30h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 12th Internet Governance Forum]

The moderator, Mr Leon Sanchez, Partner at Fulton & Fulton, introduced participants to the main themes the session, namely:

  • main pillars of Internet of Things (IoT) development
  • importance of IPv6 deployment for the proper development of IoT
  • successful experiences for IPv6 deployment
  • the future of IPv4 addresses.

The format included kick-starter remarks from panellists, then interactive discussions in two breakout groups.

Dr Tania Villa Trapala, Director of Physical Layer Analysis in Telecommunications and Broadcasting at the Mexican Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), shared that the IFT needed to conduct a situational analysis of IPv6 in view of Mexico’s low adoption rate. The IFT conducted surveys among Internet Service Providers (ISPs), academia, civil society groups, and the general public. Survey results showed that IPv6’s benefits were not well known, even among small and medium ISPs. One ISP in that country owned more than 60% market share and was not connected to the Internet Exchange Point (IXP). The regulator then mandated that said ISP connect to the IXP and accept IPv6 connections. The IFT published minimum technical requirements for telecommunications interconnection and set targets. After six months of interventions, Mexico’s IPv6 adoption rose to 5%.

 Ms Rosa Delgado, Chair of the IPv6 Council of Peru, revealed that multiple sectors were aware of IPv6 in that country. Delgado highlighted the case of Telefónica Perú, which realised in 2009 that it would run out of IPv4 addresses to sustain its business. At the same time, parent company, Telefónica Spain, was looking for a country where one of its subsidiaries could test a full transition from IPv4 to IPv6. Delgado pointed out that barriers to deployment in Peru include the need for capacity building, not only for ISP technicians but also for government IT managers, academia, and the private sector. She identified that the main problem was not transitioning but rather using IPv6 effectively.

Mr Paul Wilson, Director General of the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), briefly relayed APNIC’s course of IPv6 advocacy along with the other Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). Wilson stated that the so-called IoT was actually the traditional growth of the Internet. In the past, debates cast doubt about the feasibility of IPv6 but this is no longer the case. More than 15% of all Internet users have IPv6 capability, and at least 20% of Google’s traffic is delivered via IPv6. He mentioned IPv4’s relevance today to connect fully to the Internet, and explained that many ISPs relied on Network Address Translation (NAT) to extend IPv4 usage. He acknowledged that in most of the RIR regions, if one were to find a consenting donor one could acquire IPv4. The estimated price of an IPv4 address on this market is USD10.

Ms Laura Kaplan, Development and Cooperation Manager of the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), identified the roles that governments can play to support IPv6 adoption, including setting standards for the importation of technical equipment. She warned of the danger of becoming a dumping ground for outdated equipment, which was relevant in Latin America and the Caribbean. She reinforced the multistakeholder approach, as multiple sectors need to be involved in driving IPv6 adoption. Kaplan concurred with the Mexican and Peruvian examples in terms of the importance of capacity building, not only for technicians but also for people who make financial and strategic decisions.

Dr Carolina Aguerre, Lecturer at the University of San Andrés (UdeSA) in Buenos Aires, posited that interconnected objects were a significant incentive for IPv6 adoption. Regarding government’s role in this endeavour, Aguerre cited the case of the German government facilitating industry 4.0 based on interconnected objects and artificial intelligence. She cited government’s role as instrumental for agenda setting and leading by example for IPv6 deployment to be strategic. In addition to capacity building, developing the enabling, competitive environment for entrepreneurs to harness IoT and create new business models is crucial.

Mr Rajesh Chharia, President of Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), affirmed that while India is often a late starter, it excelled in meeting targets such as mobile and IPv6 deployment. At 51% IPv6 adoption with respect to total Internet traffic, India is second to Belgium in IPv6 adoption. Chharia mentioned the importance of support from equipment and software manufacturers in IPv6 adoption. While the Indian government did not mandate ISPs to deploy IPv6, it tasked public offices to adopt the protocol and encouraged academia to include it in curricula. Chharia stated that India benefitted from exchanges from Japan and Taiwan to understand their best practices. With the government’s intention to connect 125,000 villages with fibre optic, Chharia hoped that India will become the top IPv6 adopter in the world. He praised the multistakeholder approach as the most effective method to address IPv6 adoption.

Participants formed two working groups and came up with conclusions on the issues, including:

  • Multistakeholder approach as a requirement to address IoT and IPv6 deployment
  • Snowballing, where one entity takes the lead in undertaking IPv6 adoption and inspires others
  • Developing business cases to rationalise IPv6 deployment within the context of IoT
  • Integrating IPv6 capability in public services such as tax collection
  • Setting realistic, achievable mandates for equipment and roll-out in public offices
  • Incentivising acquisition of IPv6-capable digital TVs
  • Leveraging opportunities in the aftermath of natural disasters to restore infrastructure with IPv6 capability
  • Identifying champions in every country to drive IPv6 transition.

By Kevon Swift