Acquiring an Internet Protocol (IP) address is all set to be faster and cheaper in the country with the official launch of the National Internet Registry (NIR) by the Government of India. This will enable Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to purchase IP addresses locally by paying rupees instead of having to buy them from international agencies in dollars.

Up to now, companies wanting to get an IP address had to apply to Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), a regional Internet registry based in Australia. The local registry is all set to make IP addresses cheaper by 70 percent, not to mention the time the NIR will save.

The government has named NIR as Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers (IRINN) which is set to be a division under the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI). The NIXI essentially manages the allocation and registration of Internet resources including IP addresses – IPv4 & IPv6 – and Autonomous System Numbers (ASN). It was recognised by the APNIC in March last year.

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Procuring IP address cheaper, faster

Communication and IT Minister Kapil Sibal said during NIR's launch, “Setting up of NIR will not only reduce cost in procuring IP address but will also facilitate faster access to information for cyber crime investigators and Government authorities.”

IP addresses are administered the world over by the US based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). While the ICANN will sell IP addresses via APNIC, India will buy IP addresses only from NIR.

The launch of NIR comes not long after IRINN began to roll out the next version of Internet addresses, IPv6, in the country. The big move to adopt IPv6 came because the limit to the number of IP addresses the standard (IPv4) could hold was being exhausted. IPv6, with 128-bit addresses, supports more IP addresses than the 32-bit IPv4 addresses.

Reports quoted APNIC director (Services and Operations) Sanjaya as saying, “The number of IPv6 addresses available is enormous. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) can allocate an IP address to their users. People can be easily identified if they are using IPv6.”
The IRINN started issuing the initial set of IPv6 addresses in the price range starting from Rs 21,999 as opposed to the existing rate of Rs 66,000 in the APAC region.
Commenting on the new series of IP addresses, Rajesh Charia, President – Internet Service Providers Association of India, said that IPv6 addresses would prove to be several times cheaper for companies than IPv4 ones. NIXI Chief Executive Govind said “We are issuing IPv6 addresses at up to 60 per cent less than prevailing rates in the ongoing soft launch period. This is to test compatibility of hardware and softwares that has to be in place.”

Charia also said that the government would have to ensure that the new equipment and devices produced or imported in the country were IPv6-enabled.

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