[arin-ppml] Some thoughts on transfers, markets, and economics

Andrew Dul - andrew.dul andrew.dul at quark.net
Tue Apr 12 17:30:30 EDT 2011

Hello all,

I’d like to share a few thoughts based upon some observations over the
past couple of days.  While, I don’t post frequently to ppml even though
I’ve been involved in the policy development process for a number of years
in different ways, I hope you’ll humor my thoughts about the process of
developing policies.  

We face a number of challenges in the next years as the IPv4 runout occurs
and scarcity becomes a bigger problem.  As we have evolved our policies to
include transfers with a need based requirements, we are again considering
what additional changes need to occur as how the transfer market comes into
active existence.  

We see various people standing up along the continuum from we need to
support a transfer market with basically no conditions while on the other
side we have others wanting to uphold a tradition of “needs” based
requirements that have guided this community for more than a decade.  And
we see both sides digging in to some extent trying to bolster their
arguments.  Here we have economics and market strategies coming against
ideas of equity which aren’t monetarily based.  Within this we also have to
consider how any hording, speculation, and industry action would effect the
development of IPv6 and the Internet as a worldwide communications
technology.   Yet the IPv4 number pool is unique.  We can obviously learn
from other resource allocations schemes such as radio spectrum, telephone
numbering, and others, but the situation we are in with IPv4 is unique and
simply applying those auction, allocation, or regulatory schemes will not
necessarily meet the needs of all the stakeholders within the Internet

In my opinion, right now, a rational transition to IPv6 is not totally
inevitable.  It seems like a world of more and more NAT could be in the
future if economic and other forces within the technology community do not
promote new technology adoption.

For me, I’ve tried to understand both sides of the debate and come to my
own conclusions.  As an engineer I sometimes find it hard to make these
decisions in the absence of good information about what to do considering
we don’t have an option to “test” many of the policies before implementing
them.  While we can gather information from other resource allocation
methods, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will be unique and unlike any
other communications technology transition.

We find ourselves trying at various points playing the differing roles of
“registrar”, “allocator”, “regulator”, “lawyer”, “engineer”, “economist”,
“policy writer”, and probably other roles too.  For us to be effective at
these roles we all have their unique knowledge and skills in these areas
and I don’t necessarily think that we can be good at all of those roles.

When we initially discussed the transfer market I remember asking for us
to try and figure out how we could study how a transfer market would effect
IPv6 transition in a more formal process.  Unfortunately it appears these
types of indepth studies haven’t been done to help guide this process. 

I write this note not to encourage specific debate on the elements of the
various polices or ideas, but to for us to consider how each of us interact
in this process and if we could learn more about the various positions
without defaulting to digging in and defending a position that we hold just
because that it comes from our own traditions or backgrounds.  

In reality, its seems like the best solution to many problems is likely a
good compromise which meets the needs of all the stakeholders. 
Understanding the needs of all the stakeholders is hard and coming to
consensus on a good compromise is even harder.  I encourage you ask how we
continue to discuss these issues to consider opposing thoughts and ideals.

Thanks for ‘listening’

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