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What if Internet addresses were more like home addresses than we thought, each address requiring its own geographical area, with numbers limited by the space available?
The exhaustion of Internet addresses, the numbers that uniquely identify computers and devices on the Internet, is a pressing issue for governments across Asia and the Pacific as demand increases from emerging economies.
While a solution - Next Generation Internet - is available, the transition to it is costly and requires ‘patches’ to link the current system to the new.
In a new article for Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, the flagship journal of the Crawford School of Public Policy, Liv Coleman from the University of Tampa, Florida examines the how three countries – Japan, India and China – are responding to the looming crisis.
“The countries where government officials have identified upgrading Internet infrastructure as a priority for international competitiveness—namely Japan and China— have quickly developed the capacity to intervene and invested the necessary resources to address the problem,” Coleman writes.
“India, by contrast, has been slow to promote the transition to the Next Generation Internet.” Coleman argues that government action is needed because the market has failed to rise to the challenge.
“Across the world, ISPs focused on the short-term bottom line have generally not responded as needed to the problem of Internet address depletion,” Coleman writes.
“The legacy of the Internet’s development based in North America and Europe has resulted in an unfair allocation of the lion’s share of the global common pool resources of IP addresses to Americans and Europeans.
“The hope is that in the long run, however, these Asia-Pacific countries can make the most of their inferior position along the digital divide to not only break the bottleneck of Internet expansion and access, but to also create new and innovative technologies that can promote economic development and improve daily life.”