According to OCDE experts, all available internet addresses will be used by 2011 (with nearly 85% in use today). That means that no more internet user could be added by that time. But a solution exists, called IPv6, which provides an almost unlimited number of addresses. Few operators have already begun and there is an obvious lack of awareness of the need to start preparing for switching. NTT has launched an IPv6 network focused on earthquake early detection in Japan; the US government has set up June 2008 as the time for government agencies to be compatible with IPv6. S. Korea has committed to switch to IPv6 in public institutions by 2010. China began rolling out an IPv6 network for the Olympics Games this year. The EU Commission is yet at the stage to fund research projects and looking how to speed deployment. What is missing now is a strong impulse by national agencies and governments to promote (and force to) the move. Yet a long way to go.
For those who are interested in the subject, the full report (71pages in pdf format) from OCDE can be downloaded from the OCDE web site.