[ppml] RE: [arin-announce] NRO Response to ITU Comments on th e Management of Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses

Bill Darte billd at cait.wustl.edu
Tue Nov 16 19:50:48 EST 2004

I hope you understand that I do and have supported AfriNIC from the outset.
It is understandable that African governments would believe it strategic to
their future to be involved in Global technology governance...I too believe
it is.  I would ask (you, those governments, the wind), though if becoming
members of AfriNIC in the future or ARIN/RIPE NCC today would not advance
that objective and give them to opportunity to become better informed of the
technologies at the same time.
As I have stated elsewhere and all RIRs do formally... these organizations
are open to all stakeholders and each is welcomed for their contributions
and involvement.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ppml at arin.net
To: ppml at arin.net
Sent: 11/16/04 4:25 PM
Subject: Re: [ppml] RE: [arin-announce] NRO Response to ITU Comments on the
Management of Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses

A number of African governments have the feeling that it is of strategic
importance for their countries to become involved in global technology
governance as a means of influencing policy such that it encourages
development of resources where historically these are limited and
discourages policy that facilitates advancement merely for existing
users/developers of those technologies.

The fundamental problem with the policy making structures of
such as ARIN and the NRO, is that policy is effectively set by members,
organisations or individuals who are making use of IP addresses right

To the best of my knowlege, there is little or no representation in
or the NRO's policy making by
whose interest it is to consider those who do not currently use IP
but who may begin to do so in the future.

The huge debate and lead time for the acceptance of ARIN policy 2002-3
clearly demonstrated this issue. The people who most stood to benefit
it were NOT ARIN members. Yet the people who influenced the repeated
deferral of it and who finally voted to adopt it were mostly existing
members who were acting out of good faith rather then their own

Even still, the ARIN policy making process is disproportionately
by Internet Service Providers who stood to gain significantly from a
barrier to IP address portability whereas if their customers were
represented, there would be a much greater push for a lesser barrier
possibly assignments even as small as /24).

The ISP approach to 2002-3 was typically along the lines of "what is the
effect on the routing table and can my current technology support it?"
views of corporates and small businesses were not assessed, but my guess
that they would probably have been along the lines of "Routing table?
Aggregation? Huh? Our ability to change ISPs effortlessly is paramount.
technical experts can work out ways of improving router technology to
and ISPs can carry the cost as we're paying them for service."

Yes, it would have been possible for many non-ISP businesses to become
members and influence this policy by sheer numbers. But how many are
aware of ARIN or know that they can become a member? Mostly they rely on
their ISP to handle their Internet-related needs. And so their interests
went largely unconsidered in the 2002-3 discussions.

What African governments are saying is that because many Africans are
technologically behind, it is important that they - as guardians of
citizens (many of whom do not yet have the understanding or knowlege to
influence policy on technology) - to do it on their behalf and provide

In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes many Africans make with
technology (particuarly the Internet), is to confuse policy making with
policy implementation.

Looking at the ITU recommendation, one of the biggest faults I can find
it is the notion that each African country needs to receive IPv6 address
space in order to set policy relating to IPv6. In fact, this would be a
costly and inefficient exercise and still fail to address how African
goverments can influence global IPv6 policies.

AfriNIC is going to face a massive challenge in the future. It has been
modelling itself on existing RIR's and in doing so has attracted the
of the Internet community. It has also attracted the support of various
African governments (in particular .ZA which is a big sponsor). However,
order to sustain itself in the future, it will need the continued
support of
African governments and they will put pressure on it to set policy that
looks after the interests both of current IP address holders and persons
may in the future require IP addresses (but who have historically not
exposed to the Internet).

Anyone who doubts this need just look at the example of Namespace ZA,
perfect case of an Internet community supported organisation that was
into becoming redundant through legislation because the ZA government
decided that it was too representative of the current Internet community
not representative enough of the FUTURE Internet community (ie.the

It is no co-incidence that the ZA government are such a big founding
of AfriNIC. I have no doubt that their enthusiasm for an African
organisation to set policy for the African region is because they feel
will be more in touch with the needs of the technology have-nots and
have a greater focus on education and outreach than an organisation like
ARIN whose membership is mostly a lot more technically knowlegeable and
therefore requires a greater focus on things like request turnaround
than on education.

The key here is to persuade the ITU (and much of the rest of Africa),
initiatives like AfriNIC are already in existance to address the sort of
concerns that they have and that they should use AfriNIC as a channel of
contributing to IPv6 policy rather than trying to create an alternative
breaks a working global model.

I have no doubt that AfriNIC will be under significantly more pressure
African governments than ARIN is from the US government or RIPE from the
however, I do believe that it is up to the challenge and that
will assist it significantly.

I also believe that the AfriNIC policy formation model will need to
significantly in the future if it is to address the concerns of
representivity that are much more difficult in Africa (because of the
digital chasm, never mind digital divide).

I urge anyone providing input to the ITU on their proposals to point out
existance and relevence of AfriNIC and how an alternative
allocation approach will undermine AfriNIC, divide Africa, and in doing
weaken Africa's ability to stand united and in doing so have greater
influence on global IP addressing issues.

--Gregory Massel

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