[ppml] Policy Proposal: 2007-12 IPv4 Countdown Policy Proposal

Jim Weyand jweyand at computerdata.com
Wed Mar 21 19:11:42 EDT 2007

This may violate the spirit of the various Memorandums of Understanding,
etc. but shouldn't we let the market determine the value of IPv4

Imagine if some central source (ICANN or the RIRs) created a service
where transfers of IP address space could be registered like a county
registrar of deeds.

In our world we commonly deal with limited resources.  For example,
consider land in Florida.  There is no chance of switching to land in
Florida v6.  Over many years we have developed mature, commonly
understood methods of buying and selling land.  We have real estate
agents, title companies, mortgage companies and the county registrar of

We primarily look to the government (or in this case ICANN/RIR) to keep
track of who owns what and to help settle any disputes.

ICANN/RIR should develop a formal process where a buyer and a seller
could come and register the sale of IPv4 Address Space.  This process
should be modeled on the formal processes used to register land in
developed countries like the US.  ICANN/RIR should not make value
judgements about the purchaser or the intended use.  ICANN/RIR should
charge for this service.

ICANN/RIR should also develop a dispute resolution service to settle
disputes regarding the ownership of IPv4 Address Space.

Finally ICANN/RIR should develop a policy of selling IPv4 Address Space
that is currently not assigned and begin a public debate regarding how
much space should be held for the "common good".

Some of the problems I can think of are:

1) We could overwhelm the routing tables with too many small networks.
Yes, but we could also limit the sale to something like a /24 or
greater.  Smarter people than me know the right size.

2) Speculators would attempt "land grabs" and artificially drive up the
price of IPv4 address space.  Yes, but anybody sitting on unused address
space would have an incentive to sell their unused space thus driving
down the price and purchasers would have an incentive to move to IPv6.

3) It would be unfair to organizations that have practiced good IPv4
address space management compared to organizations that have sat on
unused IPv4 space.  Yes, can anybody list those organizations?  Are
there organizations that have voluntarily returned assigned space?  I
love the fact that Stanford has a /8.  Do you think they could figure
out how to get by on a /20 if the Chinese government offered them a
couple of billion dollars for the /8?

4) It would be unfair to regions and organizations of modest means.
Maybe, but is it fair to make them upgrade to IPv6?  Isn't the fairest
thing to allow them to make their own choice?  

Some of the advantages I can think of are:
1) This something that CEO on an airplane can understand.  IPv4
addresses are a resource.  Resources have a cost.  Markets determine

2) This creates an incentive to: 
	a) Reclaim unused IPv4 addresses 
	b) Be very careful in how they are used 
	c) Migrate to IPv6 when the price of IPv4 addresses get too high

3) This creates a new source of funding for ICANN or whoever becomes the

4) This tends to keep the various Internet governing bodies out of the
world of playing favorites and making decisions regarding the value of
one request v. another.  Those decisions should be limited to requests
for IPv4 Address Space for the "common good".  Those decisions are
political and should be as open and transparent as possible.  The state
of Florida almost never says who should own a particular piece of land
but when it does (usually for eminent domain) it is a very political

That is my idea.  It's not a proposal yet, I haven't even figured out
how to make a formal proposal.  Take your best shot.  If you like it,
tell me how to improve it.  If you don't, suggest something better.

-----Original Message-----
From: ppml-bounces at arin.net [mailto:ppml-bounces at arin.net] On Behalf Of
Ted Mittelstaedt
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 3:30 PM
To: Leo Bicknell; ppml at arin.net
Subject: Re: [ppml] Policy Proposal: 2007-12 IPv4 Countdown Policy

>-----Original Message-----
>From: ppml-bounces at arin.net [mailto:ppml-bounces at arin.net]On Behalf Of
>Leo Bicknell
>Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 4:37 PM
>To: ppml at arin.net
>Subject: Re: [ppml] Policy Proposal: 2007-12 IPv4 Countdown Policy
>While I think there has been a lot of good discussion generated
>from the IPv4 policy, a lot of it has strayed from the original
>policy proposal.  I'm going to attempt to bring that back around a
>bit as we need to tackle the issue of address space exhaustion.
>To that end, I'd like to oversimplify the proposal.  Language,
>format, and justification aside I believe the proposal can be boiled
>down to the following simpler statement:
>    The RIR's, in order to assure the orderly shutdown of IPv4
>    allocations should do their best to predict the date at which
>    there will be no more IPv4 addresses available, should announce
>    a termination date just before the predicted exhaustion, and
>    should cease allocations on that date even if there is some
>    address space still available.

Leo, can we make it:

"The RIR's, in order to assure the orderly
shutdown of IPv4 allocations must announce a termination date for
IPv4 by January 1st, 2008.  The termination date will be reviewed
every 6 months thereafter if conditions warrant"

Consider that it isn't going to be possible to predict with 
accuracy, but what we need to have is a "official" termination date
so that we can get people thinking about what they are going to do
post-IPv4.  And I don't mean just people thinking about it who are
on the list here, I mean a date that news journalists can toss

The goal should be that by at least a year from announcement date of
this drop-dead date, that most CEO's of large organizations should
have asked their network people "so what are we going to do about this 
end of TCP/IP thing I just read about?"

You see I have a theory that the reason that most large company CEO's
come up with the screwy hairbrained ideas that they do is because they
read about them in in-flight magazines on airplanes, and until we
have a drop-dead date announced, the people that write for these
publications won't have anything concrete they can write about.

>I believe the intent of the authors is to realize a number of potential
>- There is a well known date at which no more IPv4 space will be
>  available, making it easier for those needed addresses to show their
>  management the need for alternate plans.
>- By the RIR's shutting down distributions of addresses at the same
>  time it prevents the "last RIR standing" from being swamped by every
>  international company solely because they still have addresses.
>Of course, there are drawbacks:
>- This requires global coordination.
>- We may leave some IPv4 space unused that could otherwise be put to
>  good use.
>- This policy itself may cause a run on IP space.
>There are alternatives, Owen DeLong just wrote about what would
>be considered the opposite viewpoint in another message, I quote:
>    I believe that the system will function and that there is no need
>    to  do anything different until ARIN is unable to fulfill requests.
>    At that time,  ARIN should fulfill request it can on a
>    first-come-first-serve basis and provide  a polite apology in
>    response to requests which cannot be fulfilled.  I do not  believe
>    a change of policy is required in order for ARIN staff to do this.

This is not an alternative.  Doing nothing about a problem is not an
alternative, it is status quo, and it certainly invites government
interference and involvement.

>Last, in an attempt to keep the discussion focused, I'd ask you to
>consider if these related topics are relevant to this policy's thread,
>along with why I think most are not:
>- Reclamation of unused address space.  It doesn't matter if we do this
>  or not, all predictions are we still run out of address space. 

This is an extreme simplification that is essentically incorrect.  If
relamation were to exceed everyone's estimates then it might push the
runout date so far in advance that it would become theoretical.  I
agee the chances of this are small but the are not nonexistent - so
in fact, reclamation does have a place in the discussion.

> All
>  this does is move the date, which is a valid discussion but the topic
>  hand here is what happens when the RIR's have no more space to
>  allocate.
>- Encouraging people to use less IPv4 addresses, including but not
>  limited to higher fees, required use of NAT, rejustification of
>  IPs.   Same issue, it delays the date we run out, but doesn't change
>  the problem of what the RIR's should do when they run out.

These are all part of IPv4 reclamation.

>- Are the predictions of when we run out correct?  Same problem,
>  matter if it's 2010, 2020, or 2050, the question is what do we do
>  it happens.

If it is 2050 then we are setting policy prematurely if the policy is
not going to come into effect for another 43 years.  You and I will 
certainly both be retired, very likely both dead of old age.  We do not
have the moral right to dictate policy to our children for a
community problem that will arise after we are dead of old age.
We only have the right to set policy that we are going to live by.
I also have the same objection to the continual
immoral lengthing of copyright terms, by the way.

You might as well write policy now for the runout of IPv6.

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