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From Potential Impacts on Communications from IPv4 Exhaustion & IPv6 Transition FCC Working Paper, December 2010 (public domain)

In 2004, the Department of Commerce (the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)) initiated an investigation into the US Government's policy response to IPv6. This culminated with the release of the 2006 Report Technical and Economic Assessment of Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6). In the Report, the Department of Commerce stated:

Industry stakeholders and Internet experts generally agree that IPv6-based networks would be technically superior to the common installed base of IPv4-based networks. The vastly increased IP address space available under IPv6 could potentially stimulate a plethora of new innovative communications services. Deployment of IPv6 would, at a minimum, "future proof" the Internet against potential address shortages resulting from the emergence of new services or applications that require large quantities of globally routable Internet addresses.

Current market trends suggest that demand for unique IP addresses could expand considerably in future years. The growing use of the Internet will likely increase pressures on existing IPv4 address resources, as more and more people around the globe seek IP addresses to enjoy the benefits of Internet access. In addition, the potential development of new classes of networked applications (e.g., widely available networked computing in the home, the office, and industrial devices for monitoring, control, and repair) could result in rapid increases in demand for global IP addresses.

Over time, IPv6 could become (as compared to IPv4) a more useful, more flexible mechanism for providing user communications on an end-to-end basis. The redesigned header structure in IPv6 and the enhanced capabilities of the new protocol could also simplify the configuration, and operation of certain networks and services. These enhancements could produce operations and management cost savings for network administrators. In addition, auto-configuration and other features of IPv6 could make it easier to connect computers to the Internet and simplify network access for mobile Internet users.

Addressing the appropriate role for the government in promoting the transition, the Department of Commerce at that time concluded,

The Task Force finds that no substantial market barriers appear to exist that would prevent industry from investing in IPv6 products and services as its needs require or as consumers demand. The Task Force, therefore, believes that aggressive government action to accelerate deployment of IPv6 by the private sector is not warranted at this time. The Task Force believes that, in the near term, private sector organizations should undertake a careful analysis of their business cases for IPv6 adoption and plan for the inevitable emergence of IPv6 traffic on both internal and external networks.

In 2010, the Department of Commerce announced that grantees for the Comprehensive Community Infrastructure Awards, which are part of the NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) stimulus grants, must report on "Internet protocol address utilization and IPv6 implementation." Recipients are required to file quarterly reports until the end of their funding.

On September 28, 2010, NTIA convened an IPv6 Workshop, during which Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Lawrence Strickling stated,

(F)or industry in particular – smart-phone and router manufactures, transport providers, Internet service providers, and chief information and technology officers throughout the industry – action is needed. Today we want to impress upon everyone that this is an urgent issue, but one that can be successfully handled with good planning. And we want to encourage companies to share best practices on IPv6 uptake for all businesses to benefit, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The NTIA event, which was moderated by US CTO Aneesh Chopra and US CIO Vivek Kundra, highlighted the importance of industry and government working together, sharing information and best practices that could facilitate the transition. At the event, the CIO Council released its new memo with the new deadlines for the federal IPv6 transition.

Fundamental to the US IPv6 policy is the belief that the US Governments' procurement of IPv6 equipment and services for US Civilian Agency Networks will help drive the mark forward to IPv6.

In December 2010, the Federal Communications Commission released a working paper entitled
Potential Impacts on Communications from IPv4 Exhaustion & IPv6 Transition FCC Working Paper, December 2010. The FCC's Technology Advisory Committee is also examining IPv6. Discussion of IPv6 was noticeably absent from the FCC's Broadband Plan.

The FBI has been active in the ARIN Government Working Group, represent the concerns of law enforcement with the IPv6 transition.

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