Retrospective: IPv6 access in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)

This year, I’d like to write a text that is somewhat different from the ones I’ve written before. Why? Well, because this year is different from others in many ways. For reasons of brevity, however, I will only dwell on two.

a) This will be my last period as list moderator; I will not participate in the election for 2015-2017 (a call for nominations will soon be published); and

b) In my personal opinion, there has been significant IPv6 deployment this year in the LAC region.

Based on the above, particularly item number 2, and considering that 2014 is coming to an end, I think this is the best time to use the word “retrospective,” defined by Wikipedia [1] as “…..a look back at events that already have taken place.” I will comment about what has happened in our region.

Neither a statesman nor a writer, I nevertheless present you with my humble analysis.

1) Peru:

This particular case has been much debated on the mailing list, so much so that it involved one of the stormiest email exchanges in recent years. [2] [3] [4]

At this time, at least according to Google, IPv6 penetration in the Peru is 10%, which makes it the only country in our region with double-digit IPv6 penetration rates and has allowed the country to join the group of countries with penetration levels higher than 10% along with Germany (12.35), the United States (10.95), and Switzerland (10.28) (I hope I have not forgotten any other).

As additional information, in May 2014, LACNIC began monitoring IPv6 traffic within the countries of our service region. In the case of Peru, our first measurements resulted in a penetration rate of 4.6%, which would sometimes fall to 3.4%. After 18 June, we noticed a steady growth of IPv6 traffic, which reached more than 10%.

2) Ecuador:

Ecuador is a country with a relatively low Internet penetration rate among its population (35% in 2012 according to [6]). Its infrastructure, however, has improved dramatically over the last 2.5 years – according to [7].  For this reason, for the purpose of this analysis, I will assume that Ecuador has an Internet penetration rate of 40%.

According to our observations, Ecuador is the LAC country with the fastest-growing IPv6 adoption rate – in less than 60 days the country went from less than 1% to more than 3.6%.

Given that 40% of approximately 16,000,000 inhabitants can connect to the Internet, this means that, between October and December, the number of subscribers grew from 64,000 subscribers to 229,000.

3) Brazil:

For this particular country I would have liked to obtain statistics regarding the number of connected devices and computers, but it was difficult for me to find up-to-date information (I was only able to find information up to 2011). Just the same, I would like to note the following:

According to [5], Brazil has 202 million inhabitants and 107 822 831 of them are Internet users (2014). This represents 53% of the population. Based on the fact that at this time the country’s IPv6 penetration rate is 0.17%, we can assume that there are 183,298 users.

I’m sure many will think that this number is low; however, between May and mid-August 2014, the number remained fixed at 0.03%, i.e. only 60 000 users. Then, in a span of just seven months, there was an increase to more than 280 000 subscribers, which represents an increase of over 400%.

Finally, it is clear that it is difficult for the percentage to grow in a country such as Brazil due to its large population. In any other country, 200 000 would make quite an impression on IPv6 meters.

4) Bolivia:

Bolivia seems to be a VERY significant event that is going unnoticed. There have been no discussions on the mailing list and, personally, I have not heard much (if at all) on other media. Ultimately, however, they deserve a round of applause, our respect and congratulations.

At the moment, the country has ~ 0.70% of IPv6 traffic, having started to deploy IPv6 in mid-2014 with greater emphasis in late August.

So far, we are not seeing the country’s global number grow significantly, apparently because this deployment is being carried out by a small provider (a cooperative). Once again, I extend my congratulations.

5) LAC Average:

Measurements by LACNIC included calculating the overall average for the region, for which we obtained approximately 0.5%.

The point I consider worth highlighting is that, in mid-June, the LAC average was 0.12%, which means that IPv6 adoption increased four-fold within a period of six months.

What should we expect in 2015?

We certainly would like to see strong IPv6 deployment in the LAC region over the next year. In early 2014 my forecast was that at the end of the year traffic would be 0.4%. Luckily, my prediction came short (I’m really glad I was wrong!!).

I only say this to make it public, but right now my forecast is that in 2015 we will reach 2.5%. In all honesty, however, it is very hard to make a prediction on this topic – perhaps even more difficult than forecasting the weather and predicting sports results at the same time. We know of many organizations that are implementing IPv6 in every country and every region (universities, governments, ISPs). I obviously hope that my prediction is well below the mark, but even 5 times the current figure is quite promising.

Once again: Any killer applications?

I would like to mention something quite striking that happened repeatedly this year and which I think is a huge motivator:

Many companies in LAC were interested in connecting to companies in Asia. In LAC, they had access to IPv4 resources but not so in Asia. In other words, they needed IPv6 to communicate. This led our region’s ISPs to quickly deploy IPv6 or risk losing customers. Along with this, let’s remember that each country is not alone. The Internet has no borders and each country needs to communicate with the outside world. Those that choose not to implement IPv6 are at risk of becoming isolated. Perhaps you still are still using IPv4, but the other end may not necessarily be doing so.

Alejandro Acosta,

LACTF Moderator

FLIP6 Chair