BT’s 21 Century Network Is So…Last Century

Ready for a little Friday humor? Well there’s this British carrier called BT (s bt) that’s spending £10 billion ($17 billion) to build out an all-IP network that would handle the massive influx of converged data, voice and video traffic coming over the next few years on one network. They’ve been trashed and mocked, as so many visionaries often are, but they’ve kept on building, with the goal of finishing the network by 2011. Only they apparently didn’t build it to talk to the next-generation protocols, which is like spending £10 billion for a machine that translates spoken Latin.

BT told a high-speed broadband provider in the UK that it doesn’t support IPv6, which is a protocol backed by the Internet Engineering Task Force. There are all sorts of dire warnings explaining how as more devices connect to the Internet (like your digital picture frame or thermostat), we’re going to run out of IP addresses to give them. That means we need to upgrade to IPv6 before we’re forced to share IP addresses or take other measures. This requires a big effort from equipment vendors and site owners who have to build and host IPv6 sites. With the doomsday predictions saying IPv6 IPv4 addresses will run out some time in 2012, it would appear that the BT 21 Century Network will be finished just in time to become obsolete.