Broadband providers and technology companies must speed up the roll-out of the next generation of IPv6 web addresses, according to one of the founders of the internet.
Vint Cerf has warned broadband providers that the sector currently faces global shortage in web addresses.
If this is not addressed the pool of unique internet addresses will run out by 2010, he claims.
Moreover, according to Mr Cerf, the shortage could mean that some devices will not be able to go online.
Mr Cerf told BBC Online: "To be clear - if we finally exhaust the IPv4 pool it doesn't mean the internet stops working. But people wanting an IPv4 address won't get one.
"If there is an internet that does not support IPv6, not getting an IPv4 address means not getting on the net."
IPv6, which was standardised ten years ago, will result in the creation of 340 trillion trillion unique addresses, according to the BBC's report.