[ppml] Revision to 2008-3

Sascha Meinrath sascha at aya.yale.edu
Fri Apr 4 17:44:51 EDT 2008

Hi everyone,

> Date: Thu, 03 Apr 2008 23:46:43 -0500
> From: Josh King <josh at acornactivemedia.com>
> Subject: Re: [ppml] Revision to 2008-3
> To: Steve Bertrand <steveb at eagle.ca>
> Cc: ppml at arin.net
> Steve Bertrand wrote:
>> I disagree that a third designation is necessary at all. What happens if 
>> for any reason a non-profit 'community' network operator folds, and a 
>> commercially driven ISP buys up their assets?
> I think there may be some legal issues with a for-profit organization
> buying off the assets of a non-profit. What do you think about there
> being a restriction that an allocation to a community network be
> "non-transferable to any for-profit entity"? Is this a concern,
> considering that all IPv6 blocks are, under the NRPM, leased rather than
> owned?

Assets from a non-profit are required by law to go to another non-profit entity. 
  Government assets, on the other hand, can be privatized.

>> My opinion is that any entity providing any form of Internet service 
>> should be classified as an Internet Service Provider.
>>> Unlike your cable operator a community network doesn't 
>>> have customers, it has members.
>> Whether the user of the service is classified as a 'member' or a 
>> 'customer', both designations could be put under an umbrella called 
>> 'subscriber'.

One of the elements of many community networks is that they often integrate 
ad-hoc devices/networks.  One of the rationales for needed IPv6 space is to 
facilitate a lot of the innovation that the open source R&D community is doing 
to create seamless networking among numerous different devices and the local 
(often wireless) networks in these local communities.  Because of the ad hoc 
nature of much of this networking, the notion of "members" is often too 
formalized.  Community networks have users -- some of whom are members in some 
of these organization, but most of whom are just local community members wishing 
to access the broadband resources on the network.

We need to change our perspectives about how IP assignments happen to understand 
community networks.  LIRs assign address space, but in a growing number of 
community networks, IPs are identified by the end-user devices without central 
control.  This allocation request provides the IP space necessary for this type 
to network architecture to continue to flourish.  This thinking represents a 
shift in assumptions about how network architectures are created that's 
different from top-down notions in traditional networks and LIRs.  Additionally 
(and perhaps because of the bottom-up nature of many of these networks), as Owen 
and others have observed over the years, the LIR subscriber-membership fees (and 
ARIN fees as well) are an enormous barrier to entry for many community wireless 

Community networks are very different beasts from LIRs and are quite different 
from most other networks infrastructures because of their integration of 
device-as-infrastructure architectures (e.g., turning iphones into meshing 
routers), decentralization of control, and (often) open architectures.

--Sascha Meinrath
Research Director
Wireless Future Program
New America Foundation

Open Source Wireless Coalition

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