Brussels, 24 April 2001
Commission calls for rapid move towards new generation Internet Protocol to secure success of future wireless services
The European Commission yesterday hosted the first meeting of a European industry-led Task Force established to develop a comprehensive action plan by the end of 2001 to ensure the timely availability of the next generation of the Internet protocol (Internet Protocol version 6 or IPv6) as called for by the Stockholm Summit. The Task Force is comprised of senior executives broadly representing all key industrial and research sectors affected by IPv6, including European Internet service providers, telecom operators, mobile operators, equipment supply industries, research networks, and key "application" sectors. Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner responsible for Enterprise and Information Society said, "Our objective is to ensure that Europe's competitiveness in wireless technologies, is not jeopardised by the lack of a clear road map towards IPv6. The rapid and continued growth of the Internet as the key infrastructure of the global knowledge economy now requires new policy measures to ensure that it can continue to meet new requirements. Europe, in particular, must act quickly if the constraints of the existing Internet protocols (IPv4) are not to hold back realisation of the Lisbon Strategy objectives." It is estimated that at current growth rates, the current Internet protocol will run out of Internet addresses in 2005. It is therefore imperative that IPv6 be introduced before the launching of e.g. 3G mobile communications that is built on the idea of each device having their own internet address and the integration of these systems with Internet access.
At yesterday's meeting, the IPv6 Task Force was invited to consider the following key targets:
The Task Force members committed themselves actively develop concrete recommendations that would aim at ensuring a rapid and efficient transition to IPv6. While working essentially using the Internet, the Task Force will hold several meetings until December 2001.
The Task Force web-site is at http://www.ipv6tf.org
A European initiative is of particular strategic importance because of the early introduction of 3G mobile communications and the integration of these systems with Internet access, and because of the competition, privacy and affordability benefits that can be realised: