[arin-ppml] Internet Fairness

Adam Thompson athompso at athompso.net
Fri Dec 19 22:43:24 EST 2014

On 14-12-19 08:02 PM, Randy Carpenter wrote:
> A capitalistic model does not work for a finite resource like IP addresses.
I'm not even a Smithian capitalist, and I see the first problem here:

Why doesn't it work?

Market stability will be reached according to every economic theory I've 
read, regardless of whether the resources are finite or not. It may be 
that stability means a gradually-increasing price for a while followed 
by rapid inflation, but estimates I've heard posit that IPv6 deployment 
will be widespread by the time the market price would otherwise skyrocket.

> All that would happen is that a large company could just buy up all of the space, and then set its own price for everyone else.
Really?  How many universities and large organizations have /8s, /9s, 
and /10s, that they would almost immediately start the process of 
monetizing?  It's "easy" (*cough*) - switch to NAT'd private addresses, 
switch to IPv6, whatever.  Heck, simple disaggregation of large blocks 
would release tons of /16 and longer prefixes based on the usage 
patterns I've seen at most large organizations.  ISPs are not generally 
included in this, they tend to use what they have. IBM, HP/Compaq/DEC, 
MIT, Princeton, Harvard, etc., etc., however, are the poster children 
for low usage.  They just don't have a big enough incentive to worry 
about it yet.

Also, see my previous posts for references to academic treatment of the 
fact that hoarding *isn't a bad thing* in the free market.  Of course, 
this isn't a free market yet, so there's an argument to be made there...

> How's that for "fairness" ?? I don't see how you can argue for treating smaller orgs more fairly by proposing to allow large companies to set whatever ridiculous price they want.
The playing field is then level - all new entrants get to simply pay the 
going rate, with no (perceived?) favouritism towards incumbents or large 
entrants.  This assumes there's a reasonable relationship between the 
price of a /16 and the price of a /24, of course. Smith's "invisible 
hand" should, in theory, assure this...

> I still don't get the needs argument at all. If an org can't show that it needs the addresses, then why do they need the addresses?
Why should I have to disclose to a third party exactly what my plans 
are?  Even the IRS (or CRA, here) doesn't need that level of detail.  
I'm sure the NSA knows exactly what my plans are, but if I have deep 
enough pockets, I don't see why this resource - almost alone among all 
common resources both natural and artificial - should be forbidden to me.

The only other example I can think of that is widely-known is New York 
(and elsewhere) Taxicab licenses... and almost everyone except taxicab 
license owners thinks that system is, shall we say, suboptimal.

All of the points above here are posited on the fact that the US is, at 
least supposedly, a Smithian capitalist society that embraces the free 
I happen to think capitalism is fundamentally broken, but at the same 
time I'd rather let the market control what I can and can't do rather 
than a handful of regulators who I *know* don't have my interests at 
heart.  (Nor is that their mandate, I don't mean they're behaving 

In essence, above is theory, below is practical.

Moving on to problems in the areas of policy, bias, and technical:
> I agree that in the past it was difficult for small non-multihomed orgs to get space. But now that the minimum is a /24, it is so ridiculously easy.
Does multihoming, per se, meet the (v4) needs test after the policy 
changes in 2014?  If yes, I can live with the situation.  If no, then 
small entities are still getting screwed.
As a small-to-medium-sized enterprise, I probably NAT my entire company 
behind one or two (possibly not even contiguous) IP addresses, with 
maybe another half dozen publicly-visible servers. But if I want to be 
multi-homed, I must first use >64 public IPs, and come up with a reason 
to use >128 public IPs within a year. What if I just need those 6 or 7 
IPs to be highly available?

Under the current NRPM, the only apparent way a small org can multi-home 
(v4) is to get a reassignment from an ISP, at which point they're stuck 
with that ISP pretty much forever, barring a painful and expensive 
renumbering process (say, ~1000 incoming static VPN tunnels, not all of 
which are under their direct control?).

(I also note that the multihoming justification for IPv6 direct 
assignment is still there, even as the IPv4 justification is gone.)

This is the primary example today of how the NRPM is heavily biased 
towards large organizations and SPs in the end-stages of IPv4 runout.  
Meanwhile, if there were no needs test for /24s, and a healthy transfer 
market, the organization would have the *choice* of paying for PI space 
or choosing alternate workarounds with higher TCO (e.g. DNS-based 
load-balancing, manual load-balancing, etc.). Right now, the small 
organization that doesn't wish to become a sharecropper for their 
incumbent SP is - as far as I can tell from reading the NRPM tonight - 

The fact they can still get a direct IPv6 allocation is meaningless 
until IPv6 deployment reaches some reasonable density of penetration 
(>40%, roughly), and I don't hear anyone here claiming that will happen 
until we actually run out of IPv4 space, and SPs are no longer able to 
acquire v4 space on demand.  Small organizations already can't acquire 
v4 space on demand - but they don't carry much weight with SPs.

Yes, the reasoning here is *partially* circular, because there are two 
related problems converging to screw the small organization (which group 
includes most of my customers, and in fact, most businesses in Canada).

Another way to view this, which has some relevancy to the problem 
(mentioned earlier today) with separation between ARIN and NANOG, unlike 
APNIC and RIPE which largely combine those functions, is that this 
wouldn't be an issue if global routing tables carried prefixes longer 
than /24.  The main reason that's the case today - as far as I can tell 
- is TCAM space on hardware routers, which directly translates into: Money.

[Rant about certain short-sighted & self-centered ISPs removed, didn't 
add any value to the discussion, no matter how much it made me feel better.]

Right now we have this mixture of regulatory oversight and "market" 
forces that indirectly control said regulatory oversight... this isn't 
IMHO a healthy model, and any steps we can take to move either to a pure 
regulatory function *or* a pure market-driven regime should improve the 
situation.  Given that ARIN is located in the U.S., a pure market-driven 
regime seems like a better idea right now.

Regardless, small organizations are - right now - impossibly 
disadvantaged if they want PI space for any reason, especially multi-homing.

If I've misread the NRPM v2014.4 (2014-Sep-17), feel free to correct my 
interpretation... the only provision for low-usage multihoming of IPv4 I 
could find is, which is commercially punitive, at least in my 

-Adam Thompson
  athompso at athompso.net
  Cell: +1 204 291-7950
  Fax: +1 204 489-6515

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