[arin-ppml] simple question about money

Tom Vest tvest at pch.net
Fri Jun 13 14:25:34 EDT 2008

Hi Milton -- welcome to the conversation ;-)

On Jun 13, 2008, at 12:40 PM, Milton L Mueller wrote:

>> -----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.

Thanks for using this particular analogy!
I'd love to hear more about what you concluded from your Chinese  
research, esp. about the competitive environment that resulted.

The Chinese privatization was short-lived, and when the authorities  
decided they didn't like the results they re-nationalized
the "flagship" private/competitive carrier and turned it into the  
telco for the northern provinces.
Today there may be superficial segments where competition exists, but  
certainly not at the "fundamental" (as in non-substitutable input)  
infrastructure level, which happens to be where IP address resources  
are relevant. At that level, China is even more valuable as an  
example, since it is not even possible to make use of IP address space  
from legitimate external sources within the territory -- perhaps as a  
matter of commercial practice rather than affirmative law, but what  
difference does it make in the absence of competitive alternatives?

If things turn out to be other that the transfer enthusiasts wish,  
there will no return path for address resources -- or at least none  
involving "self-governance" as it currently exists.

To be honest, I'm a little that surprised community members don't  
sound even more conservative than they do.

>> 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 are indeed.

"Diehard communists" are not the only kind of people that raise  
concerns about embarking on far-reaching privatization plans without  
adequate forethought.

Do you remember the debates for and against "shock therapy" in Poland  
and Russia?
Would you say that the critics -- all of them -- were too conservative  
in those cases too?

I do look forward to hearing more about relevant parallels.



> 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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