Africa is facing a potential slowing down of digital growth with the imminent running out of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses as from next year, Liquid Telecom has warned.
Basically, IP addresses and are used behind the scenes whenever data is moved online.
The Daily Nation reports that Africa is presently using the older IPv4 addresses, while the world is migrating to the new Internet Protocol, the IPv6. Africa is the last continent with IPv4 addresses, and Liquid Telecom now points out that it is now also running short.
“We are almost eating into the last block of 16 million addresses of the IPv4 space that the regional Internet registry for Africa has available. This means we are soon entering a new phase where getting IPv4 addresses will become far more difficult and eventually impossible — there won’t be any more to give. So it is important that ISPs start to deploy IPv6,” said Liquid Telecom group head of IP strategy Andrew Alston.
Liquid Telecom chief executive Ben Roberts cautioned that if Africa mismanages the transition to the new IP addresses, it would be difficult to add more devices or enhance cyber security, both of which are important for higher internet penetration.
“Africa’s population and especially young population is growing fast, with Kenya expected to hit 62 million people by 2030. This is then multiplied by the growing number of Internet devices we are all carrying, as phones, laptops, tablets, and all these devices need an IP address,” said Mr Roberts.