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If you live in the U.S. you’re less likely than people elsewhere to notice the need to switch the Internet to IPv6. Each of a range of large U.S.-based companies and organizations, including Apple, IBM, HP, Ford, and MIT, were  allocated a block of nearly 17 million addresses soon after IPv4 was introduced, and a large portion of those addresses remain unused.

In countries where the number of people connecting online is growing fast, the problem is more urgent. China has nearly 400 million Internet users but only about 330 million IP addresses. Compare those figures with those for the United States, which holds about 1.5 billion addresses—40 percent of the total of 3.7 billion usable addresses. (The other half billion are unusable for a variety of reasons.) India, with its population of roughly 1.1 billion, has only about 35 million addresses.

Internet population: The proportion of countries’ populations using the Internet.
Source: World Bank. Last updated April 2011.

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