In 2005, the Bush Administration's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) established and ultimately met a deadline of June 30, 2008 for all federal agencies to demonstrate IPv6 capabilities on their backbone networks.
The Bush Administration also created an IPv6 testing and certification process for IT products that is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Also in 2005, Bush officials proposed a change to the Federal Acquisition Regulations that requires agencies to purchase IPv6-enabled hardware and software; the law went into effect July 2010.
An NTIA official said the Commerce Department agency has been working behind the scenes with Internet policymaking and technical bodies regarding IPv4 depletion and the need to deploy IPv6. The IPv6 workshop is the first chance the agency has had to raise the visibility of the issue within the Obama Administration and across U.S. industry overall.
"This is a critical issue, with the depletion of IPv4 addresses expected at the end of 2011," the NTIA official added. "NTIA, the Federal IPv6 task force, OMB and NIST have been working behind the scenes and keeping IPv6 on the radar screen. But we wanted to push this up to the higher levels and get a higher focus on this for all industry and government stakeholders."
Industry executives involved in the IPv6 workshop were unwilling to criticize Kundra or Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra for their delayed interest in IPv6. Instead, they expressed satisfaction that the Obama Administration is finally giving the issue visibility.
"What I found striking is that both the U.S. CIO and CTO are together on the same day, on two back-to-back panels, addressing IPv6," said Ram Mohan, executive vice president with Afilias, a registry that operates .info and a dozen other Internet domains, and a panelist at the NTIA IPv6 workshop. "It's fabulous in terms of spurring adoption and in terms of shining a spotlight on this issue."
"If you look at the 10 or 15 ways that the government may influence change and evolution on the Internet, the two places they can do it best is by voting with their dollars and by articulating and building awareness about the need for change, which is what this workshop is aimed at," said Danny McPherson, vice president for research and development at VeriSign, who is giving a keynote address at the IPv6 workshop.