[ppml] Afrinic and so-called sub-regional policies

Leo Bicknell bicknell at ufp.org
Wed Oct 8 10:41:04 EDT 2003

There seems to be some disagreement in the documentation.

At http://www.iana.org/ipaddress/ip-addresses.htm, we find that:

   ] Both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are assigned in a delegated manner. Users
   ] are assigned IP addresses by Internet service providers (ISPs). ISPs
   ] obtain allocations of IP addresses from a local Internet registry (LIR)
   ] or national Internet registry (NIR), or from their appropriate Regional
   ] Internet Registry (RIR):

   From this it's already a bit unclear if the picture is:

           RIR                 RIR
          /   \        or     /   \
        NIR   LIR           NIR   NIR
                           /   \  
                         LIR   LIR

However, if we dig deeper, at http://www.iana.org/icp/icp-2.htm,
we find that NIR is never mentioned in this document.  Humm, they
seem to have disappeared.  But, we do have a geographic requirement
for RIR's:

   ] 1) The region of coverage should meet the scale to be defined by ICANN,
   ] given the need to avoid global address fragmentation
   ] The proposed RIR must operate internationally in a large geographical
   ] region of approximately continental size.
   ] Each region should be served by a single RIR, established under one
   ] management and in one location. The establishment of multiple RIRs in
   ] one region is likely to lead to:
   ] fragmentation of address space allocated to the region; 
   ] difficulty for co-ordination and co-operation between the RIRs; 
   ] confusion for the community within the region. 
   ] The internal administrative or membership structure of an RIR must also
   ] not be such as to cause any of these effects.

So, the standard here is "large geographical region" of "approximately
continental size".  Not a must be a continent, just a large size.

However, this document also mentions ICANN.  However when you go
to ICANN, all I can find is http://www.icann.org/icp/icp-2.htm,
which seems to be a copy of the document on the IANA site.

These two documents also have this interesting wording:

   ] IP address space is currently distributed by the three existing RIRs
   ] that receive address space from IANA and allocate it further to Local
   ] Internet Registries (LIRs) or Internet Service Providers (ISPs). These
   ] LIRs*, in turn, assign addresses to end-users for use in operational
   ] networks.

   ] (*) For the purposes of this document, any reference to LIRs can be
   ] taken to mean LIRs and ISPs.

I'm going to assume from the footnote that LIR != ISP (eg, they are
not synonyms, merely treated equally).

If we go back further in history, there is also
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2050.html.  I'll not quote as I believe
it's been largely superseded by the other documents mentioned,
however of interest is Section 1, which has RIR's and LIR's (no
NIR's).  This reading also has some other very interesting (historical)
requirements in it.

Also of interest, particularly when looking at AfriNIC, is
http://www.iana.org/reports/lacnic-report-07nov02.htm, the report
on LACNIC's acceptance.  Of note in this document:

   ] 6) Adherence to global policies regarding address space conservation,
   ] aggregation and registration.
   ] The LACNIC application satisfies Principle 6. Throughout the transition,
   ] LACNIC has operated under the ARIN policies that have historically been
   ] applicable to allocations and assignments to operators within its
   ] service region. Those policies are consistent with the global policies
   ] applicable to IP address allocation and assignment.

While it's not a requirement that a new RIR have the same policies
as an existing RIR, it was seen as a positive the LACNIC had the
same policies as ARIN during the transition.  I would presume it
would be similarly positive if AfriNIC had the same policies as
{RIPE,ARIN,APNIC} during their transition.

This leaves me with a few questions.  I'm interested in answers for all
RIR's, but of course extra interested in ARIN's bit of the world:

1) Are there any NIR's?

2) Are there any LIR's? (Not ISP's)

3) Has AfriNIC written a document themselves, or had someone
   independently review what they have done in the context of ICP-2?
   This would help evaluate how close they are to really being a
   recognized registry.

4) Do people feel that "approximately continental size" would only
   mean of continent size or greater, or that, particularly for
   big continents, it could mean more than one "RIR" in  a continent
   (by design, not by the happy accident that is currently the
   Africa situation).

       Leo Bicknell - bicknell at ufp.org - CCIE 3440
        PGP keys at http://www.ufp.org/~bicknell/
Read TMBG List - tmbg-list-request at tmbg.org, www.tmbg.org
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