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European Commission - Press release

Digital Agenda: Commission makes Europa website accessible for Internet Protocol version 6 users

Brussels, 8 June 2011 - On World IPv6 Day the European Commission is making its Europa website accessible for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) users (as well as IPv4 users). The Internet operates by transferring data in small packets that are independently routed across networks, as specified by an international communications protocol known as the Internet Protocol. In 1984 over 4 billion addresses were made available on Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) but due to increasing demand for new Internet services, the last remaining IPv4 address was assigned in February 2011. The uptake of IPv6 will make available a practically unlimited amount of Internet addresses to support the explosive growth of new services in the future. By making its website IPv6 accessible, the European Commission is setting an example and hopes to encourage other public sectors to persuade European companies and manufacturers to make their new smart devices and servers IPv6 compatible. Deploying IPv6 is a key action under the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200).

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said: "I encourage governments, Internet content and service providers and any company doing business on the Internet to switch to IPv6 as soon as possible or we will face what we cannot afford in Europe: huge market distortion, slower Internet and a negative impact on innovation."

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration said: "The European Commission is leading by example in making its Europa website accessible to IPv6 users on World IPv6 Day. Taking this first step will be a great opportunity to identify possible problems and progress to full IPv6 deployment".

IPv6 was introduced to provide enough Internet addresses for the future. As the Internet expands, millions of devices (like smart phones, cars, electricity metres and domestic appliances) are expected to connect to the Internet. Billions of sensors forming the so called 'Internet of Things' will also be connected to exchange information, which will give rise to a whole generation of new smart services. Each one will require an IP address. With the availability of many billions of IPv6 addresses, future Internet growth will be assured.

IPv6 comes with many technical advantages like the simplified deployment of IP security, standard routing, and the plug and play capability.

The migration to IPv6 is costly, but renewing IT equipment to make it IPv6 compatible could dramatically lower the cost.

However, only approximately 2% of all Internet traffic is IPv6 compatible today. It is therefore necessary to upgrade the existing Internet infrastructure to IPv6 to avoid the Internet slowing down as a result of its own success, which would in turn lead to a negative impact on economic growth, fewer possibilities to drive innovation in the field of new Internet services and applications, and the risk of market distortion resulting from the resale of unused IPv4 addresses which had already been assigned.

On 17th June 2011, the Commission will organise an IPv6 workshop at the Digital Agenda Assembly and will fund a large pilot project to stimulate the deployment of IPv6 by public authorities. The European Commission has already invested more than €100 million in IPv6 research and awareness activities. The European research network GEANT is already fully IPv6 compatible.

See MEMO/11/385

Ipv6 website:

Digital Agenda website:

Neelie Kroes' website:

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter:

Maroš Šefčovič's website:

Contacts :

Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)

Antonio Gravili (+32 2 295 43 17)

Marilyn Carruthers (+32 2 299 94 51)

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