Samih Souissi

Accelerating the Transition to IPv6 in France

Samih Souissi

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In January 2016, the French Government called upon Arcep (the French telecommunications regulator) to produce an opinion on the state of IPv6 deployment in France, inviting them to draw up a precise situation report on the deployment of IPv6 in France, to identify the difficulties and obstacles associated with this transition, to suggest a series of measures and initiatives capable of encouraging and providing support to users and businesses and, lastly, to set up an annual observatory on the IPv6 transition in France making it possible to assess the transition’s progress.

In its report, produced in collaboration with Afnic (the French ccTLD registry), submitted to the Government in June 2016 and made public in September 2016, Arcep suggests multiple actions designed to support and accelerate the transition to IPv6. They are listed in the diagram below.

Figure 1: Actions designed to support and accelerate the transition to IPv6

IPv6 Barometer: A heavy dose of transparency to accelerate the transition

As part of the actions recommended in its June 2016 report, Arcep has been delivering an annual barometer on the transition to IPv6 since December 2016. The purpose is to better inform users about this topic, in keeping with a data-driven approach to regulation. This barometer provides a snapshot of the progress being made in France, along with one-year and three-year deployment forecasts.

Arcep used a number of different indicators to evaluate the status of IPv6 deployment in France for the various stakeholders involved in the transition. As you can see in the overview below, stakeholders are at different stages in the transition.

Figure 2: Status of IPv6 deployment in various industry sectors

The barometer shows in details the state of transition at the level of each ecosystem actor. This information is either collected directly by Arcep from operators in France or from third party sources (Afnic, Cisco and Google).


Concerning ISPs, the barometer provides not only the actual state of IPv6 enabled customers within each major operator in France but also a forecast.

Fixed Networks

Figure 3 and 4 below show the current situation of IPv6 deployment and the forecast for fixed networks in France.

Figure 3: Percentage of current IPv6 deployment for main operators in France

Figure 4: Forecast of IPv6 deployment for main operators in France

Even though predictions indicate that the stock of available IPv4 addresses will definitely run out by the end of 2021, some operators still have no plans for the deployments on their fixed networks that will allow them to respond to this shortage in the medium-term, which is problematic. See more information about the current and future state of IPv4 in this article on RIPE Labs.

Mobile Networks

Figure 5 and 6 below show the current situation of IPv6 deployment and the forecast for mobile operators in France.

Figure 5: Percentage of current IPv6 deployment in mobile networks in France

Figure 6: Forecast of IPv6 deployment in mobile networks in France

Even more than on fixed networks, the pace of mobile networks’ future IPv6 deployments is very likely to make it impossible to deal with the issue of IPv4 address run-out.

Web Hosting

Web hosting services continue to constitute one of the main bottlenecks in the migration to IPv6: of the most popular websites in France according to Alexa rankings, only 26% are IPv6-enabled.

Note that the percentage of web pages that are IPv6-enabled (i.e. they have IPv6 content) is significantly higher than that (61%). The reason is that many of the smaller content providers operate websites (generally fewer pages viewed) that are not IPv6-compatible.

Figure 7: IPv6 enabled web sites in France

You can find a lot more information in the original document. The barometer website is available in French. However, you can download the pdf in English. Arcep will monitor the development over time.

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About the author

Samih Souissi Based in Paris - France

Samih Souissi is a Telecom ParisTech engineer and has a PhD in computer science and networks. He is specialized in IP networks and IT security. After working as a security consultant and a research engineer, he joined the French telecom regulation authority (Arcep) where he provides technical expertise in the following topics: Net Neutrality, Quality of Service, IP interconnection and IPv6. He is also involved in several expert working groups at the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (Berec).

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