[ppml] Policy Proposal 2003-15: IPv4 Allocation Policy for the Africa Portion of the ARIN Region

Lee Howard lee.howard at mci.com
Thu Oct 2 10:31:47 EDT 2003

On Thu, 2 Oct 2003, Gregory Massel wrote:

> Date: Thu, 02 Oct 2003 00:38:43 +0200
> From: Gregory Massel <gregm at datapro.co.za>
> To: Lee Howard <lee.howard at mci.com>, Bill Woodcock <woody at pch.net>
> Cc: ppml at arin.net
> Subject: Re: [ppml] Policy Proposal 2003-15: IPv4 Allocation Policy for
>     the Africa Portion of the ARIN Region
> I'd like to clarify this. As Rosi mentioned, many ZA ISPs will allow you to
> advertise another providers address space to them if that other provider
> consents. In fact, I recently had discussions with Rosi on such a topic. I
> was able to deal with my client's request really quickly because I'd met
> Rosi before, knew to speak to her and we were on good terms despite working
> for competing companies.
> The problems I've seen with this, however, are:
> 1. You cannot just accept announcements of another ISP's address space
> without their consent. Eg. In the aforementioned case, the client had
> cancelled service and the addresses he wanted me to accept were no longer
> allocated to him!!!

Well yes, that's true, the client can not use that address space.  But
you or another provider could assign address space to that client.

> 2. Most  ISPs only advertise their supernet aggregates upstream. If you're
> trying to multihome, this causes the route to be preferred by your other
> upstream provider since the announcement doesn't form part of their
> supernets and is more specific down that path.

I don't understand.  When I say "multi-homing" I mean "announcing my
assigned prefixes to two or more autonomous systems which transit my
traffic by propagating my announcments as originating from my ASN."  
Suppressing more-specifics that originate from a downstream AS 
defeats the purpose of BGP.

If Leet Networking buys transit from MCI and Sprint, we may assign 
them a /23 based on their utilization.  We'll announce our /12 as
originating from AS701, but we'll also propagate the /23 from AS37337.

Elsewhere people have said that upstreams' peers would not accept the
prefixes because they were too small.  That should not be the case,
for two reasons:

 - ARIN allocations to Africa are from Class C space, and are not
	generally filtered at shorter prefix-length.  Your mileage 
	may vary.
 - Multi-homing is sufficient justification for a /24 re-assignment

> 3. ZA has a pretty competitive ISP industry, signficant routing expertise,
> and a small enough ISP industry for us to know who to contact. In many other
> parts of Africa, there are anti-competitive forces at play, politics, lack
> of technical understanding, etc. Also, if you're multi-homing between ISPs
> in multiple countries, you cannot expect that the ISPs will be as
> co-operative. I may co-operate with Rosi regarding a mutual client because I
> trust her and the ISP she works for. If, however, an ISP I'd never heard of
> asked me if they could announce my address space on behalf of a mutual
> client, I'd be very hesitant because I'd have almost no guarantee that if
> the client cancelled their service with me that I'd be able to recover that
> address space.

This is a problem we generally don't encounter in the rest of the world
(including North and South America, Europe, and Asia, in my experience).
If I call the NOC at an ISP (using the number in SWIP or WHOIS) and say,
"Stop announcing my prefixes" they'll check the appropriate databases
(SWIP, RIPE, RADB) to verify that the space is not assigned to their 
customer, and stop announcing it.

To all of our friends in sub-equatorial Africa:
Is this a major problem?
Does this problem generally result from ignorance or malice?

> > To compound the problem, either A) I can't afford a leased line to
> > either big ISP or B) Botswana law prohibits me from using another
> > provider.  I may actually be breaking the law by using non-Botswanan
> > address space.
> I stand to be corrected on this, but to the best of my knowlege there is not
> a single African country that regulates how you - as an ISP - route your
> traffic or obtain addresses.
> In fact, the problem is that most communications legislation is so old or
> backward-thinking that its restrictions are specifically aimed at upholding
> existing monopolies which tend to be around telco services.
> So as an ISP, your typical restriction is that you have to buy your
> leased-line from the monopoly telco. This gives them the leverage to refuse
> to provide you with a leased-line to an upstream ISP in another country and
> force you to buy IP transit through them.

That's unfair and not in the economic interest of the nation.  But how
will ARIN policy redress the unfairness?  

> > This is the most common configuration in sub-equatorial Africa?
> I don't believe this to be the case. In many situations, the legislation is
> reasonable enough to allow you to connect to whomever you like. However,
> where it is hopeless is in price control. This means that the monopoly telco
> in almost every African country will sell you IP transit for a fraction of
> the cost of a leased-line to another IP transit provider in another country
> (typically 1/10th to 1/100th). In this way, they never have to refuse to
> provide service and risk legal challenges, because they simply make sure
> that any ISP who purchases an international leased-circuit will pay so much
> that their charges to clients for IP access will have to be 10-100 times as
> much as the telco's.

I think I may be conflating two different topologies in my head.

There's topology A, which you described in the top half of the post,
where the little guy flits back and forth between the lowest-cost ISP
(always using PTT copper, of course) and needs PI (Provider-Independent)
space to save from having to renumber every time, and to improve his
chances of having his prefixes routed properly.

There's topology B, where the only affordable transit provider is the
PTT.  ARIN policy cannot redress this situation, and we just leave this
whole section out of this debate.  

Let me know if I'm spiraling in toward accurate understanding of the
situation in Africa.

> Regards
> Greg

Thanks for taking the time and having the patience to help me improve
my understanding.


More information about the ARIN-PPML mailing list