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

Tom Vest tvest at pch.net
Wed Oct 1 17:50:28 EDT 2008

On Oct 1, 2008, at 4:21 PM, Milton L Mueller wrote:

>> -----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
> days.

Perhaps you missed my point, or perhaps you simply accept it as  
De-facto global IP transit was an artifact of the system; as the  
system goes (away), so goes the service.

Could you confirm, or else clarify?

>> 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.

Of course you are right that general ignorance is no longer a fact.
However, I think that this has been true in many quarters for a while  
In my experience, most national regulators actually like, perhaps even  
prefer self-governing industries -- so long as they're functional,  
which is to say that they keep direct stakeholders happy, satisfy  
external/indirect stakeholder needs, and don't run afoul of larger  
state interests. None of those criteria are optional.

if that were not true, I guess governments would own and operate  

>> 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.

Vert astute. I deny that scarcity is a fact. I assert that scarcity is  
a choice, and in this case one that markets will perpetuate rather  
than alleviate.
I assert that, in this case, the elimination of scarcity is not only  
an equally legitimate alternative, but that it's an absolutely better  
one -- not only for community members, but also for the people that  
won't be voting in two weeks, but who no doubt will be making their  
interests known sooner or later, depending on the outcome.

Note that I didn't say that it's an easy choice, or a free choice --  
just that it's never going to be any easier or cheaper than it is now.

> 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.

Milton, this is silly.
Credit is always scarce; that's a fact.
Does that fact mean that a stakeholder community has no interest in or  
business considering policies that could dramatically aggravate the  
consequences of that fact in the future? Selective myopia is not a  
credible option -- or at least I hope it's not.

> 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,

Either the community already has ways to deal with that, or else they  
will develop them, or else it will not work.
Nobody's advocating a beauty contest -- unless you want to dismiss the  
basic idea of "eligibility criteria" as everywhere and always a beauty  
In your own writings you claim that the system has worked "fairly  
well" up to know -- does this mean that you've changed your mind?

> 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.

Most people are able to distinguish between a difference of degree and  
one of kind.
"Incrementally more expensive to grow my business, because I have to  
incorporate some IPv6" and "impossible to start a business at all" is  
a difference of kind that many people probably recognize, including  
would-be entrepreneurs, and most antitrust authorities.

>> 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.

In a way you're exactly right -- but only in the exact same way that a  
transfer market will behave very much like if the original legacy IPv4  
holders had delegated 100% of the entire IPv4 address pool to  
themselves in 1993, or the founding members of the RIR community had  
agreed that each of them would be permitted to originate two prefixes,  
and that henceforth the global routing table would be restricted to  
(2* #founding members) entries.

I'm glad they made other choices.

>> 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?

I don't need to. Each RIR has its own criteria to distinguish between  
an "initial allocation" seeker and a "subsequent allocation" seeker.
APNIC addressed this question when they approved their "reservation"  
proposal last month, and concluded that established guidelines are  
good enough, for now.

> 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.

The policies will stand or fall on their own -- but it's good that  
you've made your feelings clear.


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