Belarusian fixed and mobile operator MTS Belarus and Cisco Systems have announced the start of a project to implement the new IPv6 protocol on the telco's fixed Ethernet network in the country, marking the vendor's first project in the CIS countries. The pair say the project is designed to overcome the issue associated with using the IPv4 internet protocol – addresses for which were exhausted in 2012 – as IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses instead of the current 32. Mobile operator turned full service provider MTS Belarus launched a fixed internet service in the capital Minsk, using ADSL technology, in July 2012 and also offers Ethernet connectivity in the capital, with symmetrical access speeds ranging from 5Mbps to 50Mbps. In September 2013 MTS said it was planning to deploy a fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) network in the country. The cellco's decision follows a successful pilot project in the capital Minsk in 2012, which covered 15,000 households in 102 apartment buildings. The large-scale FTTB construction is expected to begin this month, targeting some 1,100 apartment buildings in the capital.