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Amsterdam Hosted RIPE 58 Conference

The 58th Conference of the Network Coordination Centre in the European region (RIPE-58) completed its proceedings in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) on May 8. The event, which was attended by the RIPN experts, gathered over 400 representatives of the Internet service providers, network operators and other concerned organisations from Europe and nearby regions.

The focal point addressed by the conference was the issue related to the introduction of the IPv6 addressing protocol poised to replace soon the now existing IPv4 protocol, its possibilities, under expert estimates, to be exhausted as soon as in 2012.

The RIPE 58 conference participants have stated that the transfer speed to the IPv6 technology application remains slow. The business community representatives fail to realize the substantial advantages offered by the new protocol, which is why they are in no hurry to invest funds in the expensive IPv6 support equipment. Neither the state agencies in the overwhelming majority of the countries are ready to bear any such expenses: their efforts directed at the IPv6 technology integration have so far been limited to informational policies in the area. The experts are convinced that the state funding sources are not to be expected to come about neither in the future, as far as the issue related to the Internet infrastructure upgrade to transfer to the IPv6 application is concerned, therefore, the new technology integration will be funded, primarily, by the commercial companies.

Under the pessimistic forecasts outlined at the RIPE 58 conference, the IPv6 protocol will not reach the end user before 2016. The justice behind this opinion is confirmed by statistics: so far even in the majority of the world's advanced nations the new technology is not used at the practical level at all. In particular, according to the data provided by the Hostcount++ software implemented in the RIPE NCC, Great Britain and the Netherlands are recording at present 0% of the hosts with operations involving the IPv6 technology. This is witnessed despite the fact that the European Union has approved an IPv6 integration program and the European providers have already received 1338 blocks of IPv6 addresses; in terms of this indicator Europe is well ahead of other world regions.

The experts are sure that at this stage it is paramount to engage in operations to promote IPv6 and explain to the Internet community representatives the new protocol's possibilities and advantages. For this purpose, today already the state agencies from a number of countries, as well as many international organisations, IETF, ISOC and ICANN among them, are holding practical seminars, conferences and forums oriented both towards Internet company experts and rank-and-file users. Moreover, the RIPE 58 participants believe that the IPv6 introduction will also be facilitated by exchanging practical experiences in the new protocol application sphere.

As part of the RIPE 58 conference, a section meeting was held to address Internet network safety and security problems. Representatives of the organisations dealing with averting computer threats in Europe and the USA spoke at the section. In particular, a representative of the Central Telecommunications Research Centre of the Netherlands (CIOT) told about Holland's experience in the area of struggling against the illegal actions in the Internet network. Today 110 Internet providers are cooperating with the organisation and at the request from the Dutch law-enforcement authorities they are prepared to provide to the CIOT the data on an illicit web resource. Such a scheme provides for a possibility of a prompt reaction to any computer-related incidents and enables avoiding an excessive control by The Netherlands' law enforcers over the Dutch Internet network segment.

Another important event staged as part of the RIPE 58 conference was election of a member of the RIPE NCC Board of Directors. For the last three years the post was occupied by Russia's representative Dmitry Burkov: under the RIPE NCC rules his powers were to have expired in May 2009. The voting results have reinstated Dmitry Burkov for another three-year term in office. 138 Internet providers included in the RIPE NCC have voted in his favour, while his opponent David Monosov could ensure just 32 votes.

Before the votes were cast, the RIPE NCC members had been presented with the organisation's annual financial report. According to the data submitted, the Internet registration revenues in 2008 made over $13 m and went up on the previous reported period.

This year the RIPE NCC celebrates its 20th anniversary; an official reception was dedicated to the event as part of the RIPE 58 conference and the organisation founders were invited to the reception as the guests of honour. The event was preceded by a special section meeting, where RIPE NCC Chairman Rob Blokzijl gave a brief outline of the Internet registration history and awarded symbolic gifts to the providers who had been among the first to join.

The 20th RIPE NCC anniversary celebration will be continued at other events scheduled by the organisation for 2009. The nearest one is to be held in September in Moscow and it will gather representatives of the major Russian Internet providers. And the next RIPE NCC conference will be held in Lisbon, October 5-9, 2009.

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