[arin-ppml] simple question about money

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Fri Jun 13 12:40:57 EDT 2008

> -----Original Message-----
> From: arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net 
> [mailto:arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net] On Behalf Of michael.dillon at bt.com
> Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 11:06 AM
> To: ppml at arin.net
> Subject: Re: [arin-ppml] simple question about money
> > But as you yourself implicitly recognize, once the addresses 
> > have been assigned, they don't come back.
> Don't put words in my mouth. It is rude and you can't get
> away with it on this list.

Hmmm. I think reasonable people can see for themselves which comment was
more or less uncivil. From my point of view this is a fairly technical
policy discussion and I see nothing to get hot about. 

> The fact is that addresses do come back. ISPs regularly recover
> customer assigned addresses. ARIN also gets back address blocks
> for various reasons. Even IANA has received addresses back such
> as the 14/8 block.

Sure, there are a few actors who will respond to moral suasion, such as
the University that returned the /8 it obviously didn't need. But you
can't count on that. And of course ISPs recover addresses from their
customers, they have an economic incentive to do so. But tell me how
often ISPs surrender addresses back to RIRs? Facts would be helpful
here, no reason to rely on opinions. Are stastistics from ARIN and other
RIRs available on this? I see no obvious place to look for address block
returns on the ARIN site, but would love to be more informed.

> Part of the process of "technical justification" does allow for
> intent to use the addresses. 

Sure, but "intent" is obviously rather subjective, and provides a huge
areas of latitude for holding on to things. 

> > So, what do you think is a better way to get them back? Get 
> > people on the ARIN PPML to call them bad names? Or provide 
> > them tangible economic benefits to transfer them to someone 
> > who does need them? If ISP A needs addresses and ISP B is 
> > willing to give up addresses that it doesn't need as long as 
> > it receives some compensation, why should anyone object? 
> Because it is selling. 

So? I must confess I have little sympathy for this idea that "selling"
is intrinsically evil. I spent a lot of time studying China's reform of
its telecom sector in the 1990s, and in these RIR debates I sometimes
feel as if I am dealing with die hard CCP members. If selling or trading
addresses makes utilization more efficient or increases access to v4
addresses by opening up new resources that otherwise would be hoarded,
then by all means, let's embrace "selling." Or, as Deng Xiaoping said, I
don't care whether the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.

> The ARIN BoT could end up in jail if they don't do it right, and 
> doing it right costs a lot of money. It is easier to not do it
> at all and continue with the current policy which discourages
> selling entirely. A few wierdos hand over money anyway, but since
> there are no guarantees that BOUGHT addresses will work, this has
> never picked up any momentum. It has been happening since the mid
> 1990's if not earlier, but it is a drop in the bucket, not a market.

The problem with your argument here is that it fails to take into
account the increasing scarcity, and the pressures that will inevitably
place upon ARIN and other RIRs. I was going to answer your argument in
full but discovered that ARIN's legal staff has already done so. Here is
the analysis from ARIN's counsel:

"No matter what policy ARIN implements, it seems likely that there will
be more disputes, and hence more legal risk, once ARIN can no longer
satisfy requests for v4 resources.  But if ARIN attempted to continue
its existing policy to prohibit most transfers, counsel anticipates that
widespread transfers would nonetheless occur -- imposing significant
future legal costs including the costs of investigation, arbitration,
and litigation."
> Nobody can know how many addresses are "free" in the ISPs since
> "free" is hard to pin down. If I shut down a dialup pool and put those
> addresses in limbo for 4 months while I try to cleanse the DUL lists,
> are they really "free"? If I notify all small business customers that
> when contract renewal time comes up, I will not renew contracts unless
> they agree to go to NAT, hand back their address allocations, and live
> behind a single statically assigned address per circuit, then 
> are those handed-back addresses "free".

Thank you, these are interesting empirical issues regarding the degree
to which addresses are fungible resources that could be released and
transferred. I would like to hear more from ISPs about this. Or any
other resrouces you know of that clarify the issue.

> Yes, but in this industry the opposite had happened. We have created
> a new kind of spectrum which is so vast that it will be hard for
> anyone (except the RIRs) to hang onto enough spectrum that it will
> block other users. That new spectrum is IPv6.

Don't want to get too stuck in analogy-land, but there are more
parallels here than you might think. There is all kinds of new spectrum
that could be used by mobile services. The problem is that the contested
UHF space was the "prime real estate" because it was contiguous to other
mobile blocks and because of its lower-cost propagation properties. so
in that respect it is like the IP address situation. It is cheaper and
easier to expand existing allocations than to abandon completely the old
space when massive legacy investments are built around it.  

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