[arin-ppml] Clean up definition of LIR/ISP vs. end-user

John Curran jcurran at arin.net
Tue Apr 30 10:17:53 EDT 2013

On Apr 30, 2013, at 9:11 AM, Dani Roisman <droisman at softlayer.com> wrote:
> | On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 2:31 PM, William Herrin <bill at herrin.us> wrote:
> | >...
> | > Keep it simple:
> | >
> | > 1. There is no LIR. Only ISP.  I get the distinction but it's
> | > needlessly confusing for everybody who isn't steeped in ARIN policy.
> | >
> | 
> | I was considering a global search-and-replace of LIR with ISP.  If people
> | think that'd be helpful, I'd be happy to include that change in the policy
> | proposal.
> | 
> | (FWIW, the term LIR is primarily used by some of the other RIRs, and the
> | main reason it's in ARIN policy was that the IPv6 policy was originally a
> | globally coordinated policy that used common language with all the other
> | RIRs.  But we can change it if we feel like it.) 
> Here's the way I understand the history of these terms, and have explained to others why ARIN says "ISP" but the other RIRs say "LIR" and really mean the same thing:
> ARIN policy is written with a North-American bias, where there are a very small number of countries, the language is primarily English, and the culture and manner of doing business on the Internet is fairly standard throughout the region.  ARIN typically assigns to two different types of members:
> * end-user organizations = large companies, large content hosters who exclusively use the IPs on their equipment
> * ISP organizations = network operators who then issue pieces of those IP allocations to their down-stream customers for use on customer-owned/operated equipment
> The other RIR's service a larger number of countries, with diverse language sets and cultures, and thus the term "LIR" (local Internet registry) was used to describe the practice of end-users typically receiving IPs from providers "local" to them.

Note that ARIN serves more than 25 countries at present 
and used to serve both South America and Sub-Saharan Africa 
(i.e. "Rest of World" (ROW) region, which was everything outside 
of RIPE NCC and APNIC regions)

It is true that we use one language for the registry (English),
and "ISP" is a well recognized term in that language.

> However, I've always thought of LIR/ISP as interchangeable terms, depending on who's policy you happen to be reading at the time.

They generally are, reference the "LIR" definition in NRPM 2.4

"A Local Internet Registry (LIR) is an IR that primarily assigns address 
space to the users of the network services that it provides. LIRs are 
generally Internet Service Providers (ISPs), whose customers are primarily 
end users and possibly other ISPs."

and then NRPM 6.5 - 

"6.5.1. Terminology

 • The terms ISP and LIR are used interchangeably in this document and any 
   use of either term shall be construed to include both meanings."

> My vote goes towards a global replacement of "ISP" in all ARIN documents with the term "LIR" in order to match the language used by the other 4 RIRs.  I would then support an brief statement early in the NRPM which explains that "The term LIR has replaced the term ISP formerly used in ARIN policy documents in order to simplify the global understanding of RIR policy documents.  The definition of LIR exactly matches the previous definition of ISP for the purpose of the ARIN NRPM."  (well, something like that, you get the point).

Easy enough to accomplish, if folks believe that the end result will be more
clear than present approach.


John Curran
President and CEO

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