Internet address shortage

A decade ago when telecoms were expanding, cities around the world were faced with shortages of phone numbers. New access codes were introduced and extra digits added to meet expanding demand.
Now the Internet faces a similar challenge as addresses start to run out. In fact, nearly 85% of all available Internet addresses were already in use by May 2008, and experts believe that, if current trends continue, addresses will run out by 2011. This could mean that new Internet users or mobile devices will simply not be able to access the Internet.Unlike adding telephone digits, the answer to the Internet problem is to open up a whole new Internet protocol, rather like adding a new turbo highway next to (and finally replacing) the information super highway. Today, most web addresses use Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). This system is as old as the Internet, and is showing its age. The OECD says that it is high time to move to a new version, IPv6. Not only would IPv6 provide an unlimited number of addresses, but it would help drive the rollout of broadband, Internet-connected mobile phones and sensor networks, better routing and other new services.To make IPv6 happen, governments and businesses must work together harder to encourage moves to the new Internet protocol and secure the future of the Internet economy, the OECD says.IPv4 will be supported alongside IPv6 for some time, but the move must be prepared. Service providers have been reluctant to invest because customer demand for IPv6 is low. They have to be persuaded that the move is a commercial and social investment opportunity, rather than a financial burden. Governments could take a lead by stimulating demand for IPv6 through their own procurement policies and public-private partnerships in research and development.Some countries have already started to deploy IPv6 networks. Korea has committed to converting Internet equipment in public institutions to IPv6 by 2010 and to installing IPv6 equipment in every newly-built communications network. The Japanese telecommunications firm NTT, for example, uses IPv6 to connect thousands of earthquake sensors via a computer system that sends automatic alerts to television programmes and turns traffic lights red. This type of application requires millions of addresses so would not work on IPv4.The US government has set June 2008 as the deadline by which the Internet network of every government agency must be compatible with IPv6. The European Commission is also funding research projects and looking at ways to speed up deployment. The Chinese government has begun rolling out an IPv6 network, called China Next Generation Internet, and will use the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to test mobile devices and intelligent transport and security systems running on IPv6.For more on IPv6 at the OECD, see www.oecd.org/sti/ict and listen to the podcast. The Internet is also rich in websites explaining the details of IPv6.Also, contact Karine.Perset@oecd.org, of the OECD’s Information and Communications Policy division.©OECD Observer No 268 June 2008


Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q2 2018 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.9% Sept 2018 annual
Trade: +2.7% exp, +3.0% imp, Q4 2017
Unemployment: 5.2% Sept 2018
Last update: 13 Nov 2018

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Globalisation will continue and get stronger, and how to harness it is the great challenge, says OECD Secretary-General Gurría on Bloomberg TV. Watch the interview here.
  • OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría with UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, in New York City.
  • The new OECD Observer Crossword, with Myles Mellor. Try it online!
  • Watch the webcast of the final press conference of the OECD annual ministerial meeting 2018.
  • Listen to the "Robots are coming for our jobs" episode of The Guardian's "Chips with Everything podcast", in which The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott, and Jeremy Wyatt, a professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Birmingham, and Jordan Erica Webber, freelance journalist, discuss the findings of the new OECD report "Automation, skills use and training". Listen here.
  • Do we really know the difference between right and wrong? Alison Taylor of BSR and Susan Hawley of Corruption Watch tell us why it matters to play by the rules. Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview here.
  • Has public decision-making been hijacked by a privileged few? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Stav Shaffir, MK (Zionist Union) Chair of the Knesset Committee on Transparency here.
  • Can a nudge help us make more ethical decisions? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Saugatto Datta, managing director at ideas42 here.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2018