IPv6 in France

France by the numbers

Population: 63,718,187

Percent of population with Internet access: 54.7

Percent of population with broadband access: 22.4

Total IPv4 addresses/world share: 67,803,000/1.8 percent

Lead government agency: French Ministry of Research and New Technologies

http://www.recherche.gouv.fr/


Table Sources: InternetWorldStats.com (population and percent with Internet access are from various sources, percent with broadband is from International Telecommunication Union); BGExpert.com, IPv4 addresses, compiling daily from regional Internet registries.

With influence reminiscent of its position as the indispensable actor in the international affairs of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, has played a role that extends far beyond its borders. Its dominant service provider, France Telecom, has its hands in research and development consortia and government partnerships in other IPv6 hotspots, including , and .


The company also leads deployment efforts at home. 


But despite such high-profile research efforts and government involvement, IPv6 observers say , although a standout among European countries, lags behind the Asian leaders in actual deployments — just like the rest of the world.


France’s main push for IPv6 dates back to 1996 with formation of the G6, a not-for-profit industry association chartered to facilitate testing and experimentation, information exchange, and the building of new infrastructure. Six years later, after the European Commission identified deployment of IPv6 as a priority for the European Union and encouraged member countries to form task forces for the purpose, officials formed the IPv6 Task Force . 


The national government’s Ministry of Research and New Technologies supported the new task force, which promoted technical and financial information exchange among more than 200 members drawn from industry, academia and the public sector.


The EU-driven initiatives led to a pan-European research network called Euro6IX. Inside France, the next-generation Internet2-style VTHD, partially funded by the government and by the French Research Network for Telecom (RNRT), has an IPv6-enabled very-high-broadband backbone that runs on a couple of dozen France Telecom routers, connecting the campuses of RNRT members.


But so far, IPv6 does not appear to have made much headway in deployments geared to consumers.


Essex is a freelance technology writer.

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