Help! We’re Running Out Of Internet!

If you thought the World Wide Web was a limitless receptacle to the world’s news, blogs and occasionally pointless musings, think again. The Internet could run out of web addresses by 2011, undermining the potential of businesses to use new services and applications, Karine Perset, the author of an alarming report on the future of the World Wide Web, warned Friday.

Perset, from the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD), told that 85.0% of all remaining Internet addresses that could be used, were being used, and the rest could be taken within three years.

The rapid expansion of the Internet, which has allowed businesses to expand on their services and monitor activities from afar, took on more than a billion new users in 2007.

IP (internet protocol) addresses are essential to the constant expansion of the Internet. Perset said businesses must adopt an updated IP network with almost an unlimited number of domains to help expand services and applications even further.

“Companies are not upgrading their IP addresses as quickly as they should. And changing an entire protocol requires time. By the time they start thinking about it, they probably won’t be able to find the right expertise or they won’t be able to grow their network,” Perset said.

“The smart ones like Google (nyse: GOOG news people ) or the large American engineering company Bechtel have already migrated to the updated IP network,” she added.

Bechtel, a San Francisco-based contractor, is able to profit from its operations on the Internet by setting up wireless connections that allow the company to monitor large projects, without putting at risk any lives, Perset said.

Governments and businesses need to start preparing now for the move. “Any last-minute reaction to this problem will only generate panic, the setup will not be very stable, we could see the network going down and nowadays we can’t afford for things to break,” Perset said.