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Indian Govt Launches National Internet Registry; IP Addresses To Become Cheaper

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The Indian government has officially launched the National Internet Registry (NIR) which will oversee the allocation of Internet Protocol addresses to Internet service providers in the country.

Following the launch, the government has named NIR as Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers (IRINN), which will be a division under National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), which manages the allocation and registration of Internet resources like Internet Protocol addresses (IPv4 & IPv6) and Autonomous System numbers.

This follows a soft launch of IRINN in November 2012, when it started issuing IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) Internet addresses in the country. National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) CEO Dr.Govind had then said that they had soft launched this initiative to test the compatibility of IPV6 addresses with the software and hardware needed to support IPv6, since IPv6 addresses were not backward compatible with IPv4 addresses. He had then mentioned that they plan to release industrial grade IPv6 addresses in the next few months.

What Does This Mean?

This launch essentially means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can buy IP addresses from an NIR locally for a lower price, as compared to buying it from Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) earlier. While NIR has not disclosed any pricing details of these IP addresses, a The Hindu Businessline report suggests that NIR will be offering these IP addresses to ISPs at a 70% cheaper rate than the existing APNIC pricing. This is quite similar to what Govind had announced in November 2012, where he had said that they will be offering IP addresses for Rs 21,999, a 60% discount from Rs 66,000 rates prevailing in the Asia Pacific region.

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The release also mentions that NIR will enable faster information access to cyber crime investigators and Government authorities. We are therefore curious if this means that the government will be able to monitor the country’s Internet activity in the country more aggressively now?

Previous Developments

In November 2012, the Reserve Bank of India had directed that all payment gateways, and online infrastructure including websites of institutions such as banks, financial institutions and insurance companies should complete the migration to IPv6 from IPv4, tentatively by December 2012.

In June 2012, the government had mentioned that ISPs and web portals will have to continue to support both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols and ISP may have to provide a network in which the two protocols will be operating side by side.

In order to adopt IPv6 in India, Department of Telecommunication (DoT) had introduced a policy document titled ‘National IPv6 Deployment Roadmap’ (pdf) in July 2010. For the same, an IPv6 test bed had been installed by Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC), a technical wing of DoT, to adopt explicit IPv6 harmonisation across the entire ecosystem. In order to address various problems being faced by the stakeholders regarding IP address allocation from APNIC, NIXI had also received an in-principal approval from APNIC to become India’s National Internet Registry in November 2011.

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