IP Addresses Set To Become Cheaper Thanks To Indian IT Ministry

The government’s IT Ministry Division has officially launched the National Internet Registry (NIR) at Vigyan Bhawan yesterday. The NIR has been launched under the National Internet Exchange (NIXI) and will facilitate allocation of IP (Internet Protocol) addresses in India. It will be called ‘Indian registry for internet names and numbers’ (IRINN) in India. The basic aim of this division is to reduce the cost of IP Protocols and also manage Internet resources of the country.

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This registry will also enable Indian Internet service providers to purchase Internet Protocol addresses from India itself, instead of relying on international agencies. Until now, service providers had to apply to APNIC, that is, Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (an Australian internet registry) to obtain an IP address, a process that was seen by many telecom companies as downright cumbersome and expensive. With the launch of NIR, buying IP Protocols will get cheaper by around 70 percent, and people will also be able to give payments in rupees rather than in dollars. The Registry will also take the country a step closer towards gaining faster access to information not only for consumers but also for government authorities.

NIXI was recognised by Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) in March 2012 to become NIR after it successfully demonstrated the indigenous software for allocation and management of resources. ”Setting up an entity within the ministry is a good way to start but perhaps not the way to go. We will have to set up a highly professional entity at arm’s length that is managed by government in collaboration with the private sector,” Telecom and IT minister Kapil Sibal said at the launch. The government plans to bring in private players for this division to make the whole operation more professional and as per global standards.

IP is the primary protocol for communication on which the entire Internet is built. On the global front, IP addresses are controlled by the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). India is currently in the process of shifting from IPv4 (Internet Protocol version4) which is employed for the major portion of traffic to IPv6 which is the latest version, since the former has run out of addresses.

Sibal said that in 2020, the consumer electronic market will become a $400 billion industry. In such a scenario, he said, it is very important to have an IP address allocator of our own to facilitate the devices and connections of people. He said that this is a platform for spreading use of internet among the ‘aam-aadmi’. “Inclusiveness of the portal is equally important,” he said.

NIR signals that India is finally ready to move on to IPv6, and I feel this could be the right step forward if the government aims to bring the entire nation on the Internet-Broadband superhighway. Implementation of this platform, is therefore, very crucial. The launch of NIR states that it will also help the govt. authorities access information. I am curious; does this mean the country’s Internet is about to be censored more tightly?

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