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

Bill Woodcock woody at pch.net
Mon Sep 29 13:54:13 EDT 2003

      On Tue, 23 Sep 2003, Mury wrote:
    > > procedures.  In turn this means only about 10% of the ISPs are capable of
    > > providing the higher service levels that portable address space makes
    > > possible.
    > Please excuse me for being dense today, but can you define "higher
    > service levels"?

Internet connections with real, globally-reachable IP addresses, which can
be used for servers or sub-allocated to smaller customers.

    > Is this an issue of not wanting to renumber?

No.  I believe everyone concerned would happily renumber, if they were
able to get portable space.  I've heard that said directly, in as many
words, many times.  Renumbering is not an issue here.

    > The *only* valid argument in the policy proposal I could find is this:
    > "Lack of adequate IPv4 address space may be slowing down the growth and
    > development of the Internet in Africa."

I agree that that's a good and sufficient reason to pass this policy
proposal.  As well, it fits with ARIN's core mandate of encouraging the
growth and development of the Internet industry.

The problem here is simply one of an inappropriate yardstick being
applied.  Nobody is arguing that African and American ISPs are being
treated differently in a quantitative sense; that is in faact exactly the
problem.  A yardstick has been defined by which we measure American ISPs.
The ISPs line up their customers, who line up their dollars, and the ISP
is measured to see if they qualify.  _There simply aren't enough customers
or dollars in Africa_ for ISPs to qualify by American standards.  And
there's _no reason_ to try to measure them by American standards.  Doing
so doesn't benefit anyone.  There's no competitive issue, as no American
ISPs care to do business there, given the absence of customers and
dollars.  However African ISPs don't have a choice about doing business
there; it's their home.  And they certainly don't have any means of
competing with American ISPs in America.  If they had a mechanism to set
their policy in an AfriNIC forum, they'd do so.  But for right now, they
have to set it in an ARIN forum.  And I think it's inappropriate for
people to tell them that they're not allowed to do so, just because there
are more Americans in an American organization than there are Africans
_because we're excluding them already_.

    > Why are smaller ISPs in Africa unable to obtain IP space from
    > upstream providers?

Because the upstream providers also don't qualify for portable space by
the American yardstick, so there are no addresses to be had.  The only
ones who can get the addresses are on the other end of the satellite
links, in the U.S. and Europe, do qualify using an American or RIPE
yardstick, and use that to extract excess cash from Africa by charging
exhorbitantly for addresses.  Cash which simply isn't there to the degree
to allow African ISPs to circumvent the problem by paying more blackmail
money to an upstream monopolist, to put it in politically-charged terms.


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