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Urgency for new Internet Protocol Platform PDF Print E-mail

By Esther Nakkazi

When you buy a handset you will need a simcard to be connected likewise when you get onto the Internet  you get an Internet Protocol (IP) address that makes it unique and identifies your computer or device on the Internet.

Sometime back numbers for simcards in this country got depleted so network operators added an extra figure for more numbers. Right now all IP addresses in Uganda are on the IPV 4 platform, which is projected to run out by 2011.

A new platform, IPV6 has been built to accommodate more addresses but its allocation is also running so fast as more devices are coming up that use the Internet. In Africa the addresses are assigned by AFRINIC.

IPv6 is short for "Internet Protocol Version 6. IPV6 is the "next generation" protocol designed replace the current version Internet Protocol, IP Version 4 ("IPv4").
Unfortunately the Uganda government has failed to recognize the urgency for IPV6, which could mean that software and IT equipment that is IPV6 mandated, cannot be used in Uganda because of non-compliance.  

“IPV6 is a lot more important than even fibre. It is equivalent to saying every single person in this country will have a phone but there is no strategy to give them simcards,” said Badru Ntege an IT expert during the Internet Governance Forum in Kampala.

Ntege said the need for IPV6 ‘is not a debate but adoption’ which if not acquired will make Uganda forever remain a third world country, with its internet community unable to add new applications and not able to talk to the IPV6 community.

The Uganda IT community has complained many times about the government’s slow pace in handling IT issues compared to its neighbors. When the Rwanda government learnt about it, it took them only 2 weeks to do the paper work and they soon acquired IPV6.

To this ministry of ICT officials pointed out that this is no surprise at all because Rwanda unlike Uganda has a champion for IT, its President Paul Kagame.
 “We have been slow on IPV6 but am going to talk to the ministry’s permanent secretary (Dr. Ssammanya) because am getting more convinced that we need to do something,” said Dr. David Turahi the director IT from the ministry.

When I-Network highlighted this issue in the (Oct-Dec issue 2008), the ministry came out to say that training was going on for technical staff and funds mobilized to migrate to IPV6. It is about a year since then and no action has been taken.

“People in government are not able to grasp some of these things- they are still in rewind and forward mechanism of a tape other than a CD,” said Douglas Musunga of the civil servants in the ICT ministry.

But Dr. Turahi was quick to defend that saying, “We actually understand IPV6 at the ministry but the only issue is that we lack the drive. We need to move from talking to action and we trust that it will be done now that NITA (U) has come in effect.”

more about IPV6

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