Costa Rica: Promoting IPv6 from within the Public Sector

Costa Rica has implemented a formal plan for the public sector to promote IPv6 deployment with the idea that State institutions should set an example and become a vector for innovation.
Edwin Estrada Hernandez, Costa Rica’s Vice Minister of Telecommunications, revealed his government is preparing a study of the current status of IPv6 in the country’s State institutions and Internet service providers in Central America. In this sense, he expressed his conviction that the guidelines issued by the Costa Rican Government will promote change in the different sectors of society.

How would you describe the current status of the Internet in Costa Rica? In your country, what percentage of the population has access to quality Internet connectivity?

After the liberalization of the telecommunications sector, Costa Rica experienced a rapid growth in the number of Internet users. By 2010, mobile Internet penetration was 13%, while 2015 statistics showed that this umber had grown to 100.57%.

Fixed Internet penetration rates have also grown from 8.40% in 2010 to 11.53% in 2015.

This data reflects a very favorable situation in the country in terms of Internet access and utilization.

 

After a diagnosis of the status of IPv6 in Costa Rica concluded that the issue was not being duly prioritized and noted a lack of qualified technicians, the government decided to take action to ensure the effective deployment of this protocol. What can you tell us about this process?

Our country has already been taking steps to keep the Government from lagging behind as a result of this process. The importance on this issue is clear, as the executive branch devoted two of the goals included in the National Plan for Telecommunications Development to the implementation of the new version of the Internet Protocol, IPv6, so that State institutions would set an example and become a vector for innovation.

 

What specific IPv6 initiatives has the Costa Rican public sector promoted?

In 2014, the Vice Ministry of Telecommunications (Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, MICITT) issued Guideline No. 049-MICITT which set a deadline for Costa Rican public institutions to implement IPv6: 30 June 2015. This Guideline also urges institutions to:

  • Prepare an IPv6 Implementation Plan.
  • Conduct an inventory of hardware and software that does not support IPv6.
  • Include the replacement of hardware and software that does not support IPv6 a priority in their Purchasing Plans.

To accompany the institutions throughout this process, together with the National Training Institute, to date MICITT has held IPv6 training sessions in the form a 100-hour course which addresses the theory of IPv6 and how to configure network equipment to operate over IPv6. More than 250 officials have already received training.

In addition, in order to establish dialogue and coordination among the various public institutions, we organized an ICT Forum that operates through a mailing list and serves a as a tool for sharing different points of view as well as for asking questions about IPv6 and information technology in general. Moe than 350 officials have already asubscribed to this ICT Forum.

In case of specific technical difficulties, the Vice Ministry of Telecommunications articulates with various public and private institutions and international organizations that, to date, have collaborated extensively, helping solve problems and providing answers.

We are convinced of the relevance of this issue, which is why we are working with the Regional Technical Telecommunications Commission (COMTELCA) and LACNIC to promote IPv6 adoption in our region. We are currently conducting a study of the status of IPv6 in government institutions and Internet service providers in the region.

In addition, we have prepared monitoring and evaluation reports that reflect the progress achieved in terms of implementation in our country.

 

Have the Ministries complied with the IPv6 deployment plan designed by the government?

Many challenges remain. However, several government ministries (22%) already have IPv6-enabled websites. The National Plan for Telecommunications Development also includes two goals instructing the ministries to complete the task before December 2016. At the end of the year we will measure our success, but we are already pleased to report that several ministries have already met this goal.
In addition, according to a survey conducted by the Vice Ministry of Telecommunications, in 2015, 59% of public institutions specifically include IPv6 support as part of their requirements in their software and hardware purchase processes.

 

One of the main goals of the National Plan for Telecommunications Development, “Costa Rica: A Connected Society,” is IPv6 adoption in public services. Do you think this plan will spill over to the public sector?

We are convinced that the guidelines issued by the Costa Rican Government will promote a change in the different sectors of society, as the State itself is generating a demand for IPv6 services. The Government is one of the largest buyers of technology, which palces us in a favorable position for promoting Ipv6 adoption.

Following Guideline No. 049-MICITT, we have approached operators and telecommunications service providers, so that they will offer this service to its government clients.

 

How do you assess the LACNIC meeting held in Costa Rica?

Within the framework of the LACNIC 26/ LAGNOG 16 event held in our country on 27-30 September 2016, we organized a meeting with Government Ministry Information and Communications Technology Directors, where we presented the status of the goals contained in the National Plan for Telecommunications Development (PNDT). Now we will submit the corresponding report to each Director so they can implement the measures needed to complete 100% of each of these goals in the remaining months of 2016.
In addition, international experts shared, first hand, their experience with IPv6 implementation as well as international best practices and success factors.

In our opinion, the meeting had a very positive balance, as it allows us to continue moving forward towards and reaching the goals that we, as a nation, have set for ourselves.
We would like to thank LACNIC for their support.