[ppml] No transfer policies are needed

Chris Grundemann cgrundemann at gmail.com
Fri Apr 18 14:44:38 EDT 2008

On Fri, Apr 18, 2008 at 9:47 AM,  <michael.dillon at bt.com> wrote:
> > What we're facing with
>  > IPv4 exhaustion is a requirement for redistribution,...
>  This is where I disagree that there is any such problem which
>  needs solving. I have seen no evidence that organizations will
>  start getting rid of any of their IPv4 allocations when they
>  can no longer get fresh new ones.
>  In fact, I believe that the opposite will happen. When ARIN runs
>  out of addresses to allocate, those organizations who have
>  addresses will hold on to them TIGHTLY until it is abundantly
>  clear to their management that the organization's transition
>  to IPv6 is far enough along that there will be no damage
>  caused by releasing the IPv4 addresses. This means that there
>  will be no real need for any special transfer policies until
>  the IPv4 Internet begins to shrink.
>  What we are facing with IPv4 exhaustion is a requirement to
>  leverage the existing supply with creative network design and
>  a requirement to move activities onto an IPv6 network. Today it
>  is easier for an organization to go to ARIN for new addresses
>  than it is to audit their existing supply and fiqure out how to
>  repurpose the free bits, and claw back overly large assignments
>  from customers. IPv4 exhaustion will put the emphasis on such
>  internal auditing and clawback, but will not, in and of itself,
>  free up addresses to transfer.

I would add that just as the availability of addresses from ARIN has
allowed businesses an easier route (than full internal audit, etc), a
transfer policy does the same thing for them after IANA exhaustion.
It gives businesses a way to get more addresses that is (potentially)
easier than doing the right thing, efficient use and it gives other
businesses motivation to hold out and "sell" there space to the
highest bidder instead of doing the right thing and returning that
space to ARIN.
>  Only transition to IPv6 has the potential to truly free up IPv4
>  address blocks to the point that an organization would sell, or
>  give them away, to another organization.

I again agree and would take it a bit further by saying that in my
view, the goal of any "soft-landing" strategy should be to promote the
prorogation and adoption of IPv6 rather than adding to the value of
IPv4 space.

My biggest question to anyone who will answer at this point is; "why
do we need a transfer policy?"  I have heard one argument for the
policy, that a black market will emerge if ARIN does not allow
transfers.  The IPv4 black market that many are worried about forming
after free pool depletion is actually already here. I have seen it, I
know that it is happening. I can not know to what extent but I have
personally witnessed deals being struck for the use of IPv4 space as
have others. The fact that it exists today when v4 IP space is free
and available, illustrates that a transfer policy will not stop it in
the future. People who are willing to break the rules do not care what
rules you put in place. A LIR/EU transfer policy actually has a
greater chance of making this black market larger and stronger than it
does of curbing it. This is because the public trade will help
establish value and cause confusion. If IP transfers are strictly
prohibited, it is harder to mask a transfer and harder to set a value.
Furthermore, any black market that does exist will mostly solve itself
as IPv6 adoption occurs; the more of the Internet that becomes IPv6,
the less v4 space will be worth. Therefor, the most effective way to
stop the black market is to speed IPv6 proliferation, not allow

The paragraph above is actually taken from a piece I wrote summarizing
my thoughts after the most recent policy meeting.  I have considered
and refrained from posting the whole article to this list because of
its length but for anyone who is interested, I invite you to read it
and let me know where I am wrong and why - or where you agree.
http://www.chrisgrundemann.com/weblog/?p=11  I apologize for linking
to my site - I think it would be more rude to paste the whole thing


>  --Michael Dillon
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