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December 16, 2014

UK falling behind in race for Internet of Things

ISPs and Ofcom fail to show leadership in IPv6 adoption, says report.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

The UK is failing to reap the economic and social benefits from the Internet of Things (IoT), as it lags behind the rest of the world in terms of rolling out IPv6 connectivity.

In a blog post, ‘Ofcom in denial over UK IPv6 failure’, internet policy expert Emily Taylor said the UK has been more "negative" about the adoption of IPv6 than any other country.

She said that the number of initiatives aimed at implementing IPv6 had "fizzled out", as big internet service providers convey "a lack of urgency" for IPv6 adoption.

"For the UK to reap the economic and social benefits of next generation technology, like the Internet of Things, we need plenty of internet address space. The original addresses have run out, and we must implement IPv6," she said.

She added: "In 2012, I was part of a team commissioned by Ofcom to evaluate the UK’s progress on IPv6 implementation. We concluded that on any measure, the UK is behind the curve. If you look at IPv6 success stories in other countries, they have one thing in common: their government has taken the lead," she said.

"In some countries, IPv6 adoption has been mandated by regulation, but in many cases it has not. For example, in Sweden, the government just kept an eye on things, regularly held industry events and asked ISPs how IPv6 adoption was going. This soft approach was effective."

She added: "After a decade of waiting for the market to deliver, it’s clear that our country is lagging behind on implementing a standard that will enable the next generation of innovation and economic growth, someone needs to show leadership."

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Taylor also pointed to problems around the technical and policy implications of Carrier-Grade NAT.

"Many modern applications, such as mapping and gaming don’t work with CGN. CGN create real problems for law enforcement in identifying criminals. CGN are not standardised, so mass adoption could erode innovation and competition," she said.

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