China is set to roll out IPv6 over the next few years as part of ongoing efforts to enhance the nation's Web infrastructure, according to Chinese government officials.
In a report Friday, local news agency China Daily cited senior delegates from China's State Council who revealed that a IPv6 network will be rolled out as a small-scale commercial pilot by end-2013, with a large-scale deployment to follow by 2015.
IPv6 deployment is an important component of the country's Five-Year Plan, which spans from 2011 to 2015, Hu Qiheng, director-general of the Internet Society of China, said in the report.
According to Chen Qi, deputy general manager of Beijing-based IPv6 service provider, BII Group Holding, the announcement marks the first time the Chinese government has released a schedule for IPv6 development.
Chen told China Daily that the Internet Protocol would enable telecommunication operators to allocate more IP addresses to their clients and support more users.
Figures from the China Internet Network Information Center indicate the country had some 278 million IPv4 addresses last year, for an online population numbering 450 million.
The move comes months after World IPv6 Day on Jun. 8 during which major Web companies and other industry players worldwide turned on IPv6 on their networks for 24 hours. The move was to allow these organizations to test and prepare their services for the next-generation Internet architecture.
Only 0.02 percent of users, or two in every 10,000 users, then had problems connecting to IPv6, according the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), which tests indicate that at least 25 percent of global host computers are ready to support IPv6.
Various industry watchers including APNIC have persistently stressed the importance of migrating to IPv6 as the stockpile for IPv4 continues to dwindle.