In what could be the biggest endorsement to date for next-generation networking in Australia, ICT Minister Senator Helen Coonan will officially open the IPv6 for E-business portal later this year.The ceremony will be held at the next IPv6 summit in Canberra from Dec. 4 to 6, according to IPv6 Forum Australia President Michael Biber.Biber said the IPv6 for E-business portal represents a genuine attempt to short-circuit the "If I build it, will they come?" mentality toward next-generation networks "so we can catch up with other parts of the world."The portal is a local project funded by an Australian$200,000 (US$152,700) federal government grant from the Department of Communications IT and the Arts.However, more "in-kind" funding to the tune of A$600,000 from the member organizations is expected to go toward the portal\u2019s development, bringing the total to A$800,000."It\u2019s aimed at B2B activity and designed to document IPv6 readiness," Biber said during a presentation at a\u00a0voice-over-IP summit in Sydney Wednesday. "People can download software to help with compatibility and transition."While it will be officially launched in December with new content, the portal\u2019s target completion date is not until November next year, when it will become a place for allocations for IPv6 addresses.Biber admitted IPv6 has been "over-advertised" in the press as a panacea, but he stood firm in saying the technology is "definitely happening.""It\u2019s the only alternative that is foreseeable [and] the only thing that will enable the Internet to scale," he said. "Anything that has electrons flowing through it will need an IP address."Unlike the dawn of IPv4 network addressing, Biber said there will be a "period of transition" and 30 to 40 years of coexistence en route to IPv6.Regarding infrastructure, Biber said at least 11 local carriers have started offering IPv6 native services, and all modern operating systems have IPv6 networking stacks built in. Moreover, technical colleges are now teaching IPv6 networking skills as part of their courses."I\u2019m waiting for the first native DSL transport services announcement," Biber said.The nascent IPv6 for E-business portal is online here.-Rodney Gedda, Computerworld AustraliaCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.