[arin-ppml] Policy Proposal: Last Minute Assistance for Small ISPs

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at ipinc.net
Tue Jul 28 11:25:27 EDT 2009

michael.dillon at bt.com wrote:
>> Where I'm coming from is simple - we all know that there's 
>> small fry out there, we all know that some of those small fry 
>> are gonna get stomped hard by IPv4 runout, and since the 
>> small fry definitely didn't cause IPv4 runout, I just felt it 
>> was kind of unfair to allow that to happen without throwing 
>> them a lifeline.  
> Small fry have less work to do to deploy IPv6.
> Also, small fry who want to deploy carrier grade NAT don't need 
> to wait for IETF work and vendor implementations because they are
> small enough to do the job with existing NAT software. 
> You can realistically run a small ISP using only free software 
> for routing and everything else by using Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD
> and/or OpenSolaris.

You can realistically run a LARGE ISP using only free software.
Yahoo runs off it.  Hotmail ran off it before MS bought it to use as a 
testbed to perfect Windows Server.

Even if you deploy NAT on your own infrastructure you still have to
have public IP addresses somewhere.  And, when your customers themselves 
are running NAT what are you supposed to do?  Put them behind yet 
another NAT?  How many levels of NAT devices are we supposed to use on 
the Internet?

> Small size carries some advantages as well as disadvantages. It is
> a mistake to assume that IPv4 runout will crush small ISPs just because
> they are small. 

I don't assume it will crush small ISP's just because they are small.

I do assume that for SOME small ISPs they are operating in spaces where
there is a single monopoly upstream provider who is going to use the
IPv4 runout as reason to significantly raise costs for the small ISP. 
I'm not thinking of metropolitan areas where competition will prevent 
this from happening, I'm thinking of rural areas in particular.

> IPv4 runout will only crush poorly run businesses
> with lazy managers who lack foresight, regardless of whether those
> businesses are big or small.

It is pretty clear from posts on this list and elsewhere that it is 
going to take a few years after ARIN assigns the last IPv4 address
for all major carriers to have native IPv6 offerings.  IPv4 is going
to have to get scarce and expensive before IPv6 becomes an issue for
a lot of people.

I agree that if an ISP right now is not pressuring their upstream for
native IPv6 and that if their upstream isn't natively running IPv6 that 
both of them are probably in the "poorly run businesses with lazy 
managers" category.

But if anything, allowing the smallest ISP's to obtain numbering from
ARIN will actually increase pressure on the 2nd tier networks to get
it in gear and deploy IPv6.

Look at it this way.  Say you have a small ISP with, say 500 customers
who is doing OK, out in Podunk MI.  The only network in their rural
area capable of even bringing fiber to them is PaBell Telco.  PaBell
also sells Internet connectivity and is staffed by lazy business 
managers who wouldn't know an IPv6 address if it bit them in the ass.

PaBell has been seeing a small erosion of their Internet customers to
Podunk ISP, but they are too lazy to do anything about it.  Podunk has
been bugging them to get IPv6 but PaBell lazy managers are too lazy to
bother with it right now.

I think that the ARIN community would like to see both PaBell and Podunk 
to go to IPv6.  Podunk ISP can and will do it because they are small
and it's easy to do.  But PaBell isn't going to do it until they are
pushed against the wall with a gun on them.  They would just as soon
buy IPv4 post runout under the directed transfer section of the NRPM.
As long as Podunk is dependent on PaBell for IPv4 numbering, if Podunk
seriously challenges PaBell by taking many customers away from them,
PaBell will merely react by raising prices on the IPv4 they have 
assigned to Podunk, pushing them out of business.

Now, you can argue that PaBell could also do this by jacking up 
connectivity rates.  But, they can't do this without running afoul
of restraint of trade unless they also jack up connectivity rates for
all their other customers at the same time - which defeats the
purpose since that won't cause customers to migrate back to PaBell from
Podunk.  That is why PaBell would most likely choose to attack Podunk
through fees on IPv4.  After all, the directed transfer market that
was approved in the NRPM - over my objections I might add- gives PaBell
a perfect excuse to claim that their fees for IPv4 are going up, so
they have a perfect right to jack up costs for numbering they have
assigned to Podunk ISP.

One last thing I will say about this - the truth is, my proposal is
actually putting things back the way they were originally.  Years ago
it was possible to obtain not just a /23 directly, but a /24 as well.


> --Michael Dillon
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