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UK Net address company shut down in protest at govt apathy

A body set up to oversee the transition to IPv6 has wound down in protest at the government's lack of interest.

A UK body set up to oversee the shift to the Internet's new address system has been shut down in protest at what it sees as government indifference.

The lack of support from the government meant 6UK's work was futile, according to the former director of the non-profit body, the BBC reports. The organisation was set up to advise ISPs and companies concerning the move from IPv4 to IPv6. Because of the government's indifference, the UK is one of the countries to have done the least to move to IPv6. Not exactly doing us proud, Dave.

"The biggest organisation we needed to join 6UK was the government," said Philip Sheldrake, former director of the organisation.

The government gave 6UK £20,000 in 2010 to help it start, but since has washed its hands of it. Nothing has been done to mandate the new protocol, Sheldrake said, which would have helped speed up adoption significantly.

Europe reached its limit of IPv4 web addresses back in September, prompting wartime-style rationing. IPv6 is the future standard, allowing for 340 trillion, trillion, trillion Web addresses. (I don't know how many zeros that is, but I'm guessing a lot.) Compare that to the 4.2 billion addresses that IPv4 allowed.

IPv4 was conceived in the 1960s and standardised in 1981, back when 4.2 billion Web addresses seemed a lot. More innocent times, you see.

No government website uses an IPv6 address, which just goes to show how indifferent it is to the new standard, Sheldrake said.

This doesn't square with its enthusiasm for tech initiatives like Tech City, according to Sheldrake. "If you were going to evangelise Tech City and the UK as a digital hub to the world you probably want to be building that on the modern Internet protocol," he said.

It's a fair point. And we invented the Internet, surely we should be at the forefront of Web adoption -- don't you think? Let me know what you reckon in the comments, or on Facebook.