International experts to gather for Internet Week Guyana in October

GEORGETOWN, Guyana—Internet experts from around the world will be in Georgetown in October for Internet Week Guyana, a high-level technology conference focused on national and regional development issues. Hosted by the Guyana Ministry of Public Telecommunications, the meeting is jointly organised by LACNIC, CaribNOG, ISOC, ICANN and the CTU.

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Dominica hosts regional IPv6 workshop

In the Caribbean, we routinely use our smartphones, tablets, laptops and other connected devices for work, play and everything in-between. Every device connected to the Internet is identified by a unique address, and thanks to the swift growth of the Internet, very little now remains of that finite stock of numbering resources. The current system of Internet number resource management, called Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), is near depletion. At a ceremony in Miami in February 2011, the last batches of IPv4 addresses were disbursed to the five regional Internet registries that manage those resources in the different regions of the world.

Unlike Europe and Asia who have run out, the Americas are now in the final phases of allocating remaining resources. Two registries service the Caribbean—the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) and the Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC).

ARIN expects that all remaining IP addresses for North America and the parts of the Caribbean they serve will be claimed before the end of this year.

“In the coming weeks, for the first time in history, an organisation will come in and request IPv4 address space and qualify, but we won't have it in our inventory to fulfill the request,” said Richard Jimmerson, ARIN's chief information officer recently told Ars Technica.

IPv6 Transition

But all is not lost. The Internet is in the midst of a major transition to a new version of IP addresses known as IPv6. And while IPv4 resource allocation has hit a critical stage, there is plenty of IPv6 address space available for anyone who wants to use it. The updated version launched with 340 undecillion addresses, more than enough to addresses the shortage.

The Internet Society has already observed that more and more IPv6 networks around the world are seeing a lot of IPv6 traffic. Popular websites like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo!, and Wikipedia have been using IPv6 for quite some time now.

An Apple executive announced on the first day of its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) that the AppStore would soon require IPv6 support for all iOS 9 apps.

“Because IPv6 support is so critical to ensuring your applications work across the world for every customer, we are making it an AppStore submission requirement, starting with iOS 9,” said Sebastien Marineau, Apple’s vice president of Core OS.

Slow Caribbean deployment

Still, Caribbean Internet Service Providers have been sluggish to adopt the new technology.

In a pair of exclusive interviews, top officials from ARIN and LACNIC discussed Caribbean ISPs’ slow rate of IPv6 deployment.

Leslie Nobile, Senior Director of Global Registry Knowledge at ARIN, told the Guardian that about 43 per cent of ARIN's ISP members in the Caribbean had already received their IPv6 allocations. That figure compares well with the percentage of allocations already given to ARIN's U.S. and Canadian ISP members, about 47 per cent.

But LACNIC chief technology officer Carlos Martinez told the Guardian that, compared to their North American neighbours, Caribbean ISPs have been relatively slow to actually deploy the new technology. LACNIC’s figures on Internet traffic show a global average IPv6 adoption rate of around five per cent, while the region lags at less than one per cent, he said.

Organisations such as Caribbean Network Operators Group, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union and Packet Clearing House have been raising awareness of the need for regional organisations and governments to transition their networks to IPv6.

“Anyone responsible for managing an IP-based network should adopt IPv6 priority as if the future of their networks depended on it, because it does,” said Bevil Wooding, internet strategist with Packet Clearing House. Wooding has been instrumental in raising the awareness of IPv4 exhaust and the need for IPv6 transition in the Caribbean.

“Securing IP addresses stability is key to safeguarding the bourgeoning Caribbean digital economy. With IPv4 coming to an end and Internet growth continuing to rise, there is no time like the present to make the shift to IPv6. It’s simply too important an issue to leave unaddressed.”

 ARIN on the road

The urgent need for IPv6 migration featured high on the agenda at a free ARIN on the Road event held in Roseau, Dominica on June 18. Two sessions led by Leslie Nobile will cover IPv4 depletion and IPv6 uptake in particular. The one-day event brought participants up to speed with the status and forecast of IPv6 adoption, and how to request and manage Internet resources.

Transitioning to IPv6 is very possible, and the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses in the region just provides operators with one more reminder that now is the time to make the transition. One hopes that the ARIN event also helped to do exactly that.

Originally published: Trinidad and Tobago Guardian

T&T "very active" in global Internet debate, says ISOC boss

Sebastián Bellagamba, ISOC regional bureau director for Latin America and The Caribbean T&T has come in for praise from the international community supporting the global Internet.

Raul Echeberría, vice president of global engagement at the Internet Society, described T&T as “very active” in high-level international debates on issues related to the governance of the global Internet.

“ISOC has a long history of working in the Caribbean, and the Trinidad and Tobago community is vibrant in the international community. There are people here who are very active in international organisations that work to promote the open development and evolution of the Internet for the benefit of everyone around the world,” he said.

Echeberría was speaking with the T&T Guardian at the opening day of the organisation’s INET TT Forum, held at the Telecommunications Authority (TATT) office in Barataria on October 8 and 9.

The wide range of meeting participants bore out the ISOC executive’s words. Represented at the event were Packet Clearing House (PCH), the Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC), and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), which is headquartered in Port of Spain.

Echeberría also identified the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) multi-stakeholder fora and the International Telecommunications Union’s Internet Governance Forum as examples of the far-reaching involvement of T&T nationals in the international debate.

INET TT was ISOC's first INET Forum in the Caribbean. The local and regional technical fraternity's high level of participation in international debates must continue, Echeberría said, to ensure that Caribbean users of the Internet continue to enjoy open access to the Internet and freedom of online expression.

He warned that in T&T and other countries, political interests could threaten the basic principles of freedom of information and freedom of expression.

“There are some challenges from the political side. There are some governments that think that they should have more control of the Internet, even motivated by very understandable objectives like to fight cybercrime. But we continue pushing for an Internet that is free for everybody so that access to information is not restricted and freedom of expression is not repressed,” he said.

“We think that the Internet should be a tool for improving the way that people exercise human rights.”

Sebastián Bellagamba, ISOC regional bureau director for Latin America and The Caribbean, also highlighted the importance of keeping the evolution of the Internet open.

“ISOC is not pursuing technology for the sake of technology. We strongly believe in the capability of the Internet to improve people’s quality of life,” Bellagamba said.

“When we have national INETs, like this one in Trinidad and Tobago, our goal is to bring some expertise from ISOC and the international technical community but also to learn from the local community, to enrich the global debate on relevant issues such as Internet governance. That’s the way that we believe in moving things forward. It’s the Internet model,” he said.

About 50 stakeholders from different sectors gathered for the two-day event. Beyond the technical community, the event brought together government officials, academic researchers, non-governmental organisations and private sector companies.

Participants used the forum to find out more about important technology-related issues such as Internet governance, online identity and privacy, cyber security, mobile broadband connectivity, and the deployment of the new Internet Protocol (IPv6).