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AFRINIC-27: IPV6 migration now requires legislation



African Governments have been advised to seek legislative means to ensure swift compliance to internet protocol version six (IPV6) migrations by critical industries such as telecommunications, and original equipment manufacturers.

Speakers at the just concluded African Regional Internet Registry (AFRINIC-27) meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, unanimously agreed that the Continent should hasten the process of migration to avoid looming ‘internet blackout’ as IPv4 nears its end.

Since Afrinic’s inception, Alan Barret, the CEO, said, they have allocated more than 100 million IPv4 addresses and over 9000 IPv6 /32 prefixes in Africa with around 42% of its over 1500 members receiving an IPv6 prefix.

“This year at end of October, we have allocated 7.2 million IPv4 addresses, 95 /32 IPv6 prefixes, and 127 ASNs with 122 new members joining us”, Barret said, adding, “a single legislation by the African Governments, probably, through the African Union, can change the game. That’s why we are engaging key government officials and the working group, to actually find lasting solutions IPV6 migration.

To, Sunday Folayan, chairman of AFRINIC board, apart from government policies cum executive willing needed to drive the agenda, telecommunications operators should consider leading the process.

“For instance: if MTN Nigeria can turn all their equipment to become IPV6 complaint or switch the network to this new internet protocol, then, Nigeria would have achieve 35% migration.

Also speaking, Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said, “To support emerging technologies, we need to create an enabling environment for IPv6 deployment. We need to engage more in the area of Internet Governance and other similar initiatives from national to sub-regional to regional and global to contribute and share best practices that can help to grow the internet”.

Prof. Danbatta who acknowledged the efforts of internet society and the stakeholders in helping the development of internet in the African region, added “The NCC is therefore committed to supporting the African Internet industry as much as possible with provision of good regulatory policies in Nigeria, which will ensure availability, affordability and accessibility to high speed internet that would drive emerging technologies and deployment of more services.

But, Dr. Chris Nwannenna, MD/CEO, SystMetrics Systems Limited, opined that though, IPV6 offers better technologies, however, cost implications could be responsible for slow migration, adding that operators would require time to change their equipment.

“Actually, I don’t just jump into something because others are there. IPV6 is going to a better technology, but the cost implication might be reason operators and other users are not jumping at it. We have to consider the investment powers of the operators to access their ability to migrate now or later. But, definitely, migrating to IPv6 should be encouraged,” he told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek.

However, Mohammed Rudman, vice president of NiRA believes telecommunication equipments built in the last four years are IPv6 complaint, suggesting that cost of procurement would have reduced.

According to him, Nigeria must do everything possible to avoid ‘rat-race’ with regards migrating to the new protocol.

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