Kenya sets up IPV6 council to drive growth of new Internet addressing

A body to oversee and speed up the rollout of the adoption of a new internet addressing has been set up. The Kenya Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPV6) Council will be responsible for driving the country’s overall uptake of devices and internet connections to homes and enterprises in line with the National IPV6 Strategy developed by the Communications Authority.

IPv6 is a new system that supports almost unlimited number of devices, has better security and other enhanced internet functionalities including reliability, faster speeds and the ability to stream data and content to multiple devices simultaneously.

In a speech read on his behalf, Ezra Chiloba, Director General of the Communications Authority said that it reflected the Government’s digital transformation agenda, which seeks to engender a country where every citizen, enterprise, and organization leverages the immense potential of ICTs and thrives in the digital economy.

“To spur the uptake of Internet services and ensure sustainability of these services, CA developed an IPv4 to IPv6 migration strategy which outlines various regulatory interventions to ensure faster adoption of IPv6 addresses which are the backbone of Internet routing. Among the measures include the requirement that effective July 2023, all Internet connecting devices must be IPv6 enabled as an irreducible minimum, for them to be type approved for sale in Kenya. This will ensure any new device sold and bought by ICT service consumers is future proof with regards to Internet access. This will also prevent dumping of IPv4 equipment as e-waste in Kenya”, he said.

He added that the CA is developing industry specific IPv6 training content to be used to train service providers on various regulatory measures required of them, like IPv6 data collection.

Echoing his remarks, Fiona Asonga, CEO of the Technology Services Providers of Kenya (TESPOK) pointed out that Kenya’s capacity to handle local data traffic had risen tremendously in recent years, underscoring the use of more local internet addresses. “5 years ago, 20 percent of data traffic was local but today it stands at 60 percent”, said Ms. Asonga. This growth of the Internet ecosystem, she added, was linked to the localization of data traffic.

Wangxusheng, Vice President of Huawei Kenya underscored her remarks, stating that the growth in internet connections could only be anticipated, with the impending depletion of IPV4 addresses at the regional and local level.

“Digitization is the major force that will drive our society for the coming decade. With countries increasing their investment in digital infrastructure to improve competitiveness, and industries upgrading with “connectivity plus intelligence” technologies, network demands are growing with connections expanding from billions of people to trillions of things,” he said.

He pointed out that after more than 30 years’ development, the IP network has evolved but with the deepening of enterprise cloudification and digital transformation, IP networks need further evolution to carry more critical services. These new services pose higher requirements on IP networks for the number of connection addresses and high-quality bearers. Industries like finance, power and healthcare today have specific security, latency, and stability requirements that can only be met by the new IPV6 addresses.

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