[ppml] Research on transfer markets, was: RFC 1744 and its discontents

Scott Leibrand sleibrand at internap.com
Thu Apr 17 20:35:00 EDT 2008

Geoff Huston wrote:

> I'm not sure that its a case of providing direction as you infer, or
> following behind the actions of industry players. The transfer proposal, 
> at least in the APNIC region, is a proposal to recognise in the registry
> the outcomes of actions between address holders that result in the movement
> of address resources.

In the ARIN region, the situation seems to be somewhat different, in 
that ARIN is in a stronger position (largely operating within a single 
legal system, for example).  However, we still can't impose on the 
industry a solution that doesn't work for them, so we're trying to 
recognize the likely outcomes of IPv4 exhaustion, and put policies in 
place that legitimate the beneficial aspects while doing what's within 
our power to help alleviate some of the more detrimental aspects.

k claffy wrote:

>> 1744 is a nice essay and would make nice phd thesis proposal, 
>> but someone (or several) ought to go off and do the research 
>> and write a few theses.   i believe ben edelman is doing good
>> thinking and his writeups will be useful, but if we think
>> that's sufficient, we're in a heap of denial. the kneejerk
>> "but there is no truly related work; this is a whole new world!"
>> position i keep hearing from some of the smartest people i know
>> has me wondering how many days till men in suits come in and take over.


>> otherwise this exercise looks like promoting blatant cyberlandgrab, 
>> which i don't believe is what any of the registries intend.
>> (good intentions are not sufficient here, we also need good research.)

One big overarching meta-assumption I think we might differ on is 
distinguishing what is ideal (what the men in suits could do with the 
power of government behind them) and what is possible (what those of us 
in jeans can do within our policy development framework).  For example, 
if the government gets involved they can dictate how IP addresses get 
privatized.  But as long as we think a non-regulated system is better 
for the industry, we have to work within what's already been done (for 
example, we can't force legacy holders to give back space, or charge 
high per-address fees to encourage conservation).  If there was a land 
grab, it has occurred gradually over my lifetime.

>> i've only spent a few hours thinking about this, but i see at
>> least 5 specific research questions that the registries should
>> [get icann to use some of their $57M/yr budget to, or do themselves 
>> if icann won't] sponsor and guide an interdisciplinary working group 
>> to rigorously study and get peer reviewed publications for the 
>> community to learn from before even launching any proposals:
>> 	(1) comparison of ip address allocation and spectrum 
>> 	allocation, including different models used in different 
>> 	countries, and metrics for evaluation of efficiency
>> 	and consumer surplus generated 
>> 	(2) comparison to other industries privated in this country: 
>> 	electricity, natural gas, trucking, airlines, telecom 
>> 	(3) comparison to other industries privated in other 
>> 	countries, esp G7
>> 	(4) comparison to other industries privated in our own 
>> 	field: ip transit, dns
>> 	(5) comparison to other market reforms in last 200 years:
>> 	russia, china, india, latin america.  
>> for each comparison, the similarities and differences to address 
>> markets should be compared, metrics of success proposed/described, 
>> data gathered/analyzed, models built.  

In my mind, these are good and useful comparisons, but to my mind they 
presuppose that the entity making the policy has authority to change 
allocations and/or privatize resources.

Perhaps another angle would be to look at the dynamics of real-world 
transfer markets.  I think the closest analogy would be to real estate. 
  For starters, our situation is much like that of a number of 
developing countries where residents didn't have title to their land. 
In some cases, when they were given title, and a working system, and 
were able to do all the good things you'd expect (buy & sell land, use 
it as collateral for loans, etc.).  In other cases, the system didn't 
work well, transactions were not recorded properly in the central 
registry, no one knew exactly who had what, etc.  I'm not sure what 
exactly the differences were between the systems that worked and those 
that didn't, but I'm pretty sure a researcher could tease out the 
distinctions and come up with some lessons for how to structure a 
transfer system for IP addresses.

> So I agree 
> wholeheartedly with the proposition that this topic would benefit from
> further study and, in particular, comparative studies as you suggest here.


> But, as you are aware, the processes that will lead to IPv4 unallocated address pool
> exhaustion are inexorably grinding away, and we have very little time left if
> we believe that there is a benefit in taking actions before the event.
> I suspect that the post mortem analyses of this event will be many and varied, but
> the question before us at the moment is a more pragmatic question of what can we do
> as address registries in the interests of a cohesive single Internet that 
> would be of common benefit here that would not endanger the internet at the same
> time, and be achievable within the time available to us?

Well put.  I don't claim to know how to do (or direct) research, but I 
do know that we need to focus our attention on the things that are 
relevant to what is possible under the RIRs policy development processes 
(for now), and particularly on research whose outcomes include 
recommendations for how we can improve our policies to help steer a 
middle course between potential negative outcomes on both sides.

Thanks again, kc, for all your work in this area, and particularly for 
what you're doing to involve a larger set of folks in the issue.


More information about the ARIN-PPML mailing list