India will start using IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) from March 2012, according to a new roadmap released by the Indian government.
All telecom and ISPs will have to be IPv6-compliant by the end of next year and offer IPv6 services thereafter, the government said in a statement issued on Wednesday by the country's Press Information Bureau.
Federal and state government ministries and departments and public sector companies will switch over to IPv6 services by March 2012, the government said.
IPv6 is an Internet protocol version that offers a larger address space than the current IPv4. This is because it uses a 128-bit address as compared to 32 bits in IPv4.
India is running out of IP addresses on IPv4, a problem that is likely to get more acute with the upcoming rollout in the country of 3G and broadband wireless access (BWA) services, said Rajesh Chharia, president of the Internet Service Providers Association of India.
Mobile phones that support data, for example, will each require an IP address, he added.
India has completed auctions of BWA and 3G licenses, with the allotment of spectrum for 3G scheduled for September.
ISPs in India are ready for IPv6, Chharia said.
About 52 million urban Indians were active Internet users in September last year, according to a report released jointly by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, and research firm IMRB International. Active users are those who have used the Internet at least once a month.
A move to IPv6 will give a boost to Internet adoption in the country, Chharia said. A lot of equipment like refrigerators, air conditioners and television sets with will come onto the IPv6 network and be controlled remotely, creating a potentially large market in India, he added.