Are the heavy weight economies coming to the IPv6 party?

Chris Gabriel, CTO at Logicalis Group looks at the world's major economies' progress towards IPv6 readiness and what it all means...

Back in July, my colleague, Lucas Pinz, Senior Technology Manager at PromonLogicalis in Brazil, wrote an excellent series of blogs (parts 1, 2 and 3) looking at the issue of IPv6 readiness.  He quite rightly made the point that adopting a new internet addressing protocol is hardly likely to be high up on the boardroom agenda.

However, given the likely implications of failing to prepare for IPv6 in good time, he pointed out that maybe it should just sneak onto the agenda some time soon.  After all, as Lucas pointed out, in IPv6 - Is there an internet-shaped hole in your growth plans, failure to secure IPv6 readiness will ultimately impair:

"...the ability to leverage the continued growth of the internet, the increasing internet-enablement of a wide range of products and services and the potential inherent in fast growing markets".

We shouldn't forget however, that getting ready for IPv6 is not solely a job for business.  It is also a task for governments - at least governments that want to oversee thriving, growing economies which are geared up to compete in our increasingly digital global economy.  They must, at the very least, play a role in encouraging the so-far less than keen ISPs and telcos to finally commit to IPv6.

That, and the recent G20 summit in Russia, got me thinking.  I wonder, I asked myself, how well the world's powerhouse economies are getting on.  Are they taking IPv6 seriously and are they, given their vast resources, leading the way when it comes to readiness?

So, I visited Cisco's excellent 6lab website to take a look.  A little number crunching later, and this is what I found (I excluded the European Union, limiting myself to a 'G19' of individual countries, purely for simplicity)...

This is how the 'G19' fares for 'relative readiness', measured against a top score of 10 (you can find out what that means exactly by visiting the Cisco IPv6 site):

Rank Country Score
1 France 7.6
2 Germany 6.7
3 United States 6.1
4 Japan 5.2
5 South Africa 3.2
6= Australia 3.1
6= Canada 3.1
8 India 2.8
8= United Kingdom 2.8
10 Indonesia 2.4
11 Turkey 2.2
12 Italy 2
13 Russia 1.9
14 Saudi Arabia 1.8
15 Brazil 1.5
16 Argentina 1.2
17= China 1
17= Mexico 1
19 South Korea 0.4

At first glance, that looks OK.  However, beyond the first four in the list, the numbers drop off dramatically.  Maybe not so good after all - in fact, only 5 of the 'G19' countries feature in a top 20 of the world's most IPv6-ready nations, the rest are behind the world's fastest shrinking economy - Greece.

So, what does all this mean?  For me, it means that, as is the case in many boardrooms, IPv6 is simply not on enough 'G19' government radars.  It's already pretty well known that many of the major ISPs are dragging their heels and it seems even the most economically powerful governments are doing very little, or at least not enough, to hurry them along.

Clearly, this doesn't mean the G19 (or the G20) will soon be brushed aside - but, long term, a lack of readiness is likely to be an issue for any country, and therefore its government.  Indeed, you can be sure IPv6 will be very high on the agenda if failure to get ready starts to impact on national competitiveness, inward investment and the ability of a nation's businesses to seize the growth opportunities the internet will continue to create

IPv6 Global Readiness IPv6 Global Readiness

As Lucas Pinz pointed out:

"The findings from a recent McKinsey Global Institute Internet Matters report serves to focus the mind.  It claimed that 75 percent of the economic value produced by the internet benefits traditional industries."

What do you think?  Where does your country rank and should it be doing more to support IPv6 readiness?

Related IPv6 Readiness Resources:

IPv6 - Is there an internet-shaped hole in your growth plans?

What is you IT Department doing about IPv6?

IPv6 readiness. First steps for your IT department

Logicalis US Warns - The US must do more to prepare for IPv6

Worldwide IPv6 Readiness Ranking

Tags IPv6, Strategy, Business Strategy