[arin-ppml] Needs assessment

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Wed Jun 5 11:57:42 EDT 2013

While we are at it, we might want to clarify a few things about the general "needs assessment" debate:

* critiques of needs assessment in IPv4 are not directed at IPv6. The point, as RIPE's "No need" proposal and others have said, is that once the free pool is gone the rationale for conserving via administrative needs assessments is largely gone. The market price system can take over the task of conservation, as it does for most resources. 

* I myself have written a paper demonstrating the impossibility of having a market for the initial allocation of IPv6 space. Some form of technical criterion for initial IPv6 allocations is unavoidable because we would have no idea how to market price the IPv6 space until and unless we occupy most of it. 

* people who attack the elimination of needs assessments on the grounds that "there are bad people out there who want to make money on addresses" seem to be missing the point. Nearly all of the organizations applying for IP addresses are trying to make money on them in one way or the other. Or did you think Google, Amazon and Verizon were charities? [1] Do you not understand that IP addresses are part of the service bundle offered by ISPs, cloud providers, hosting providers, etc., and that they are being "sold"? What is it, exactly, that makes selling a number block as an alienable commodity intrinsically evil but selling it bundled with internet service worthy and wonderful? 

In short, the removal of needs assessments from transfers after a free pool is depleted is a minor but important adjustment that we make in the dying days of IPv4. Time to relax about it. Dispense with the religion, and  focus laser-like on what makes for the most efficient methods of moving IPv4 numbers to their most highly valued use, quickly and with minimal friction. 

[1] Indeed, it seems incongruous to give these incredibly well-resourced companies scarce resources for free via the ARIN free pool, but that is another debate. 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net [mailto:arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net] On
> Behalf Of Milton L Mueller
> Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 11:27 AM
> To: 'Kevin Kargel'; arin-ppml at arin.net
> Subject: Re: [arin-ppml] Against 2013-4
> > -----Original Message-----
> > I for one am a supporter of the needs basis.  As I have said before, if we
> > eliminate the needs basis then I want to be first in line to request
> everything
> > that is left.  I am sure there will be quite a queue.
> This comment is an example of the strange illogic that somehow permeates
> this debate.
> Eliminating needs basis AFTER there is no free pool doesn't mean that you
> get to request "everything that is left." There is nothing left to request.
> On the other hand, if a free pool still exists, keeping needs basis as a criterion
> could actually mean that one person, whoever is first in line, could request
> "everything that is left" if they could document need for it - even if 37 other
> organizations had the same need.
> Kevin's comments, in other words, seem to support exactly the opposite of
> the position he is upholding.
> > My perception is that the ARIN community is strongly biased to support
> > needs basis and there is a very vocal minority trying to eliminate it so that
> > they can create a market they can profit by.  I don't read the opposition to
> The public interest case for eliminating needs basis is very clear. (I am an
> academic, by the way, not in any way connected to the brokerage or
> secondary market.)
> The feeling is that bureaucratic needs assessments introduce significant
> friction into the transfer process, making it more difficult for addresses to
> shift from people with a surplus to people who actually need them. It is the
> current system that is characterized by hoarding, not a freer market.
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