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Experts Cast Doubt Over UK Consumer Group’s IP Address Shortage Claims

in Broadband's Impact/International by

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2011 – A British consumer group claimed Monday that nearly four out of ten of the nation’s 20.9 million broadband users worry about increasingly limited Internet access, though experts in the field called into question the findings, pointing to the impending implementation of the next generation of Internet Protocol addresses.

With the world population set to approach 7 billion people this year, according to the United Nations, there is concern that the world is running out of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. IP addresses are unique online identifiers that act like phone numbers for individual computers.

“The results from 338 respondents to ISPreview.co.uk’s latest survey have helped to reveal that over 39 percent of UK broadband users are concerned about the imminent depletion of ‘Internet Protocol version 4’ (IPv4) addresses and the impact that it could have upon their connections,” said ISPreview UK, a UK Internet Service Provider consumer group.

There are currently 4.3 billion IP addresses possible under the current IPv4 system. The Internet Society (ISOC) – an international nonprofit corporation responsible for leadership in the development of global Internet standards – recently coordinated World IPv6 Day, where nearly 400 online companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) implemented a 24-hour test period of the new IPv6 system. The new IPv6 system would allow for the continued expanded growth of the Internet, according to ISOC.

Mark Jackson, Editor-In-Chief of ISPreview, told BroadbandBreakfast.com that its site has approximately 5,000 daily readers, nearly all of whom are from the UK. Gender and age details were not collected during the “Yes/No” survey administered through on-site polling and to existing UK members during June and July, according to Jackson.

ISPs, however, are not convinced the 132 survey participants who voiced concern accurately represents the 8.1 million broadband users the survey claims to speak for. While most consumers are not concerned about the IPv4 to IPv6 changeover, UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Virgin Media, are preparing for a seamless behind-the-scenes transition.

“Whilst we already have enough IPv4 address space for our current network needs, as part of ongoing network upgrades, we have been looking at making our network ready for IPv6 connectivity,” said a spokesman from Virgin Media. “We anticipate we will progress with initial stages of IPv6 deployment at some point during 2012.”

Josh Peterson is a DC-based journalist with a professional writing portfolio that includes work on US foreign policy and international affairs, telecom policy and cyber security, religion, arts, and music. He is currently a journalism intern at The National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C. and a former tech and social media intern at The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies & Citizenship. Peterson received his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and religion with a minor concentration in music from Hillsdale College in 2008. When he is not writing, Peterson lives a double life as a web designer, social media strategist, photographer, musician and mixed martial artist.

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