RIPE NCC continues to address Internet challenges in Middle East

Reseaux IP Europeens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) – the independent, not-for-profit membership organization that supports the infrastructure of the Internet through technical coordination in Europe, Middle East and Central Asia – published its first country report on opportunities and challenges for the Internet in Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries.

This report comes during a period of strong growth for the Internet in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East more generally. Trends in the global economy and the business environment more generally have many governments and business leaders concerned about challenges that could affect further growth and development.

In this context, the RIPE NCC has a range of tools and services – including RIPEstatRIPE Atlas and RIPE Labs statistics – that provide access to information about Internet number resource holdings, routing, connectivity, IPv6 readiness and other useful metrics on Internet development. Drawing on data and measurements available through these services, the RIPE NCC provided its perspective on challenges, trends and opportunities for Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries.

The report shows that one of the main challenges faced by GCC countries is that mobile operators are currently not ready to deploy IPv6 to their mobile customers. In fact, none of the mobile operators in the Levant region have made the transition to IPv6 yet, though some have started experimenting. Current routing and traffic management practices are also hindering the efficient operation of networks in many countries throughout the region.

Chris Buckridge, External Relations Manager at RIPE NCC, said: “The Internet may be a global network of networks, but for many stakeholders, understanding what is happening with the Internet in their own country is fundamental to helping them contribute to its economic development and improvement. This country report is part of our contribution to an ongoing collaboration with all stakeholders, including those from both the public and private sectors, aimed at developing effective solutions to the challenges posed by Internet growth.”

The report mentioned that operators in the GCC countries tend to see IPv6 deployment as the solution to IPv4 exhaustion, yet deployment levels remain below the expected figure. While many networks have IPv6 configured to their upstream providers, the key component still missing is deployment to customers and end users. Despite being released in 1998, Google saw the percentage of users accessing its services over IPv6 pass the 1% threshold in 2013. Although the current figure is now around 26%, we are committed to ensuring it become much higher.

The RIPE NCC will continue to work for a more stable and resilient Internet by ensuring the reliable allocation of Internet number resources, the continued security of the processes associated with coordinating these resources, and by helping to guarantee the security of the Internet’s routing system as a whole. These efforts also demonstrate the success of the Regional Internet Registry model of regulation that brings together diverse stakeholders.

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