The 6UK campaign, a not-for-profit membership organisation that was setup with support from Vinton Gray “Vint” Cerf (i.e. father of the internet) and others to help encourage UK ISP uptake of the IPv6 internet addressing standard, has announced that it is “powerless to encourage adoption” without more government support and will thus have to close.
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is assigned to your computer each time you go online (e.g. 188.8.131.52), which acts as a unique online identifier that allows you to communicate with other computers around the world.
Unfortunately Europe and the UK effectively ran out of new IPv4 (current standard) addresses during September 2012 (here) and adoption of its replacement, IPv6, has continued to lag. You can read more about this problem here.
“The 6UK board has determined that the organisation cannot fulfil its purpose and therefore the directors, all volunteers, resigned at today’s AGM without seeking re-election. In the absence of nominations to the board, 6UK is to be wound up in accordance with its articles of association.
The UK lags its neighbours, economies of similar size, G20 and EU member states when it comes to uptake of the new Internet protocol, IPv6. This is of growing concern because the RIPE NCC (the Regional Internet Registry for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia) began to allocate its very last address space of the previous protocol, IPv4, in September this year.
Many factors impact the uptake of IPv6 and clearly free-market incentives are insufficient. Yet at a country level, delayed adoption significantly impacts national competitiveness, innovation and skills deleteriously. It may also hobble UK based companies facility to compete internationally.
From observing global IPv6 adoption patterns in recent times, one factor appears to dominate IPv6 adoption rates, namely government support. Countries with hands-off governments fall behind.”
It’s worth noting that 6UK was established with seed funding of £20k from the government’s own Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and had also gained the support of several ISPs and related organisations including Easynet, AAISP, Redstone, Timico, Fluidata, LINX, Ja.net and others. But despite the group’s best efforts many ISPs, not to mention hardware and software manufacturers, have continued to stick with their old IPv4 setups.
Sadly IPv6 and IPv4 are not directly compatible, which means that internet providers have to install dual-stack networks that allow the two to communicate. Related systems carry some cost and many ISPs have instead opted to continuing using their remaining pool of IPv4 addresses, although eventually even those will run out.