Europe’s major telcos appear unprepared for the official switch to IPv6 web addresses, with only a handful stating they are ready for the new standard that launches today.
At the time of going to press, only Telefonica, Orange and Swisscom had issued statements regarding their compliance with the new standard, which is being introduced to replace IPv4 web addresses amid soaring global demand for IP connectivity. The names of incumbents including BT, Deutsche Telekom and Telecom Italia are notable in their absence from the ranks of those declaring themselves ready to roll.
Spanish incumbent Telefonica has begun switching its global operations to IPv6 – a task it estimates will last through 2013 – stating it will prioritize regions where stocks of IPv4 addresses are depleted. France Telecom, meanwhile, has already activated IPv6 for customers in Poland, and switched its domestic consumer and business websites to the standard. Swisscom has also updated its home websites, and applied for official certification as an IPv6 Internet service provider.
The launch of IPv6 marks the culmination of almost 15 years work by the Internet Society, including a major readiness test conducted mid-2011. The change is necessary because the last stocks of IPv4 web addresses were issued by global registry IANA in February 2011.
Analysts are already hailing the switchover as a milestone for the industry.