[arin-ppml] On whether morality can be the lone argumentagainst a transfer market

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Wed Oct 1 16:21:51 EDT 2008

> -----Original Message-----
> Behalf Of Tom Vest
> No I don't. I argue that the system that may now be in its last days
> worked for everybody. It made de facto global IP transit -- the one-
> stop shopping option for all customers and all non-DFZ routing service

Fine, but irrelevant. Those days were predicated on no scarcity of ipv4
addresses, and we do have scarcity. Useless to pine for the good old

> That last "open entry" bit was what effectively made new markets --
> e.g., aspiring new RIR communities -- want to opt in to the growing
> system, and what encouraged national regulators, who were generally
> neither accustomed nor willing to abide that level of extra-
> territorial service delivery, to sit on their hands.

National regulators sat on their hands for various reasons, but not
those. Mostly they had no idea what you were doing or how to intervene
in it. That, too, will end eventually. 

> 1. Preventing Pv4 exhaustion from happening for new entrants, through
> mechanisms like 2008-5 at minimum -- if not more vigorous initiatives
> like the scale-sensitive "contribution scheme" that I've suggested in
> the past.
> 2. Gradually reducing the non-substitutability / critical demand for
> IPv4 over time, e.g., through a commitment to rapid and ultimately
> universal dual-stacking of all "important" public-oriented Internet
> resources -- if not more vigorous initiatives like the scale-sensitive
> "contribution scheme" that I've suggested in the past.

Both seem to me to be just fancy ways of denying that scarcity is a
fact. But it is a fact. By definition, when there is more demand for v4
addresses than there are addresses, you allocate them by voluntary,
user-driven transfer or by centralized command-transfers in which an
authority takes them away from one person and gives them to another. 

Or there are reservation policies. How far do you go with it? And what
criteria do you use to grant address blocks from the reserved space? 

Assume, e.g., that tomorrow ARIN says "no" to all requests for v4 except
those it deems "new entrants." At best, that just sets in motion a game
to present oneself as a "new entrant" to ARIN, and/or privileges
guesswork about the importance and economic viability of a "new
entrant's" plans over the demonstrated needs of "old entrants," which
might be just as valid. 

> Is that really realistic? The current demand for transfer markets is a
> combination of some mixture of (a) incumbents who are apparently
> willing to spend a lot to delay or perhaps avoid IPv6 altogether, plus
> (b) surplus IPv4 holders who are not willing to part with their
> surplus resources unless/until someone pays them a lot to do it. As
> soon as a market is legitimized, they might or might not be joined by
> (c) other incumbents that are willing to cannibalize their own
> critical/production IPv4 assets, despite the uncertainty of the future
> IP addressing base, in order to secure a quick, one-time payout. They
> will almost certainly be joined by (d) new speculators who will be
> looking for every opportunity to buy early/cheap and hold out until
> they can sell at a much higher price.

And so, at the VERY WORST, a transfer market will behave very much like
simple depletion of the v4 address pool. 

> One key rationale for the reservation policies is to make it at least
> theoretically possible for successive generations of new entrants to
> internalize their own IPv6-IPv4 translation requirements. That  way,

Can you define a "new entrant" for us? A precise definition capable of
being operationalized? Anyway, just for the record I have no objection
to an addressing equivalent of the FCC's "pioneer's preference" band, so
that a small block of reserved addresses is allocated to some definition
of a new entrant that promises to do something innovative and useful
with it -- as long as a transfer policy is in place for the rest of the
v4 block. 


More information about the ARIN-PPML mailing list