North American Network Operators Group

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Re: IPV4 as a Commodity for Profit

  • From: David Conrad
  • Date: Tue Feb 19 18:41:56 2008


On Feb 19, 2008, at 11:40 AM, John Curran wrote:
I imagine that there are many potential outcomes.  For example,
in a world where ICANN/IANA (who seems to very much want to
be in charge of all this)

This is almost amusing given the _mutually_ agreed role for ICANN/IANA in address allocation, but I guess we all need our bogeymen.

actually did IP block revocation of unused
blocks per RFC2050, we'd likely not be having any discussion of a
relaxed transfer policy, as a result of the complete lack of need.

To my knowledge, ICANN has neither the ability (given the mutual agreements between ICANN and the RIRs) nor the desire to intrude upon the RIR's bailiwick in this way. I find it somewhat surprising that after 10 or so years of trying to ensure ICANN didn't get into the RIRs business that you're suggesting they do so now (I seem to remember someone telling me "IANA should be a black box where the RIRs crank the handle and /8s pop out, nothing more").

However, this misses the point.

The people who control the Internet address space are not the RIRs or ICANN. Control is vested in the ISPs who decide what is routed or not routed. In effect, the ISPs have agreed to use the RIRs as a neutral meeting point to avoid negotiating a myriad agreements on who has the right to announce what. This only works as long as it is in the best interests of most (in particular, the big parties) to play along. As soon as policies begin to impact those best interests negatively, the policies will either be modified or ignored. If they are ignored, the vacuum will be filled by someone (whether a private entity or governments/ITU isn't clear at this point).

A market already exists. Whether it is done by buying/selling a company for its IP address assets or just simply buying the address space outright and paying an ISP to not look at a RIR whois server isn't particularly relevant. As the IPv4 free pool exhausts, that market is going to get much bigger, much faster. It would be nice if this market were somehow self-regulated by the industry players involved since failing that implies something I suspect none of us want. However, the current path appears to be to not do anything until it is too late.

Perhaps we could agree that not doing something until it is too late would be bad?

Would the ISP community support adherence to RFC 2050 and
route accordingly?  It certainly has to date, and nearly every RIR

policy has been build accordingly.

And IPv4 address space has been essentially free to date. That _is_ changing as you well know.

It might result in some legal
work, but that's a small price to pay to further operational stability
of the Internet.

As far as I can tell, the best way to ensure instability is for ISPs and other address consuming organizations to continue ignoring the issue. Promoting the idea that 2050 is somehow still applicable to the post IPv4 free pool world would seem to support that action. Not sure how that helps.

p.s.  ICANN seems to have no problem with asserting the
      informal DNS agreements from the same time period
      (with entire teams of lawyers) so maybe we just need
      to wait until they're free to pay attention to IP resources?

I'm afraid you're confused. The informal agreements I presume you're referring to are national sovereignty issues and ICANN has essentially no role (and certainly no role for ICANN's lawyers). FWIW, ICANN's lawyers are largely consumed in dealing with new, formal, contractual agreements. However, continue to make spurious accusations, it undoubtedly makes the various parties feel better.