Essex County Council is set to rake in up to £700,000 by selling off unused IP addresses.

The authority has 65,000 addresses which are unallocated to council devices.

Every computer, router or printer needs an IP address so devices can talk to each other.

IP addresses are currently selling for approximately £11.46.

If the council goes ahead with the sale it could generate between £455,000 and £715,000 dependent on how and when the addresses are sold.

County Hall has said any income generated will be invested in frontline services it offers.

A report said: “The IPv4 addresses have a market value because the internet has almost outgrown the addressing scheme it adopted in the 1970s, capping the maximum number of addresses at 4.3 billion.”

Unless the addresses owned by the council are sold by 2025 they are expected to become worthless as a new version is being introduced.

The report added: “The IPv4 have a limited value window until 2025, the monetary value of the addresses are expected to decline until this date.

“The one-off anticipated income from this transaction is not budgeted and will, therefore, benefit the 2018/19 financial year.”

Essex County Council is facing a £51 million funding gap this year which is set to increase to almost £180 million by 2022.

The council says it now faces significant pressure on services, driven primarily by the massive reduction in the revenue support grant from government.

The council received £230 million from this grant in 2013 but it will disappear altogether by 2020.

It has saved £700 million since 2010 through efficiencies and income generation and there are further savings of £59 million for 2018/19.

An Essex County Council spokesman, said: “Our decision to try to sell unallocated IP addresses is one example of how the council is generating income.

“The addresses are surplus to requirements and any income generated will be reinvested to support frontline services.”