[arin-ppml] Draft Policy ARIN-2017-2: Removal of Community Networks

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Wed Mar 29 13:30:34 EDT 2017

> On Mar 21, 2017, at 12:07 , Jason Schiller <jschiller at google.com> wrote:
> I would offer a friendly amendment to Scott's request to open the 
> question up more generally...  (we should not confuse if a policy
> is being used, with if it is needed).
> Can "Community Networks" please chime into this thread 
> and explain one (or all) of the following:
> 1. Why are you (or other communities networks in general) 
> having or had trouble getting resources?

This section was put in place to attempt to provide a mechanism by which community networks could gain access
to IPv6 resources for the following reasons:

	1.	Encourage the use of IPv6 by community networks.
	2.	Provide an avenue by which the board could provide a reduced fee structure for community networks.
		(The board has, so far, elected not to do so)
	3.	Lower the barrier to qualification for relatively small blocks of IPv6 address space for operators
		of community networks.

At the time the policy was introduced into the NRPM, the barrier to entry for a community network (which would be
treated as an ISP) was a minimum commitment of $2,500 per year (IIRC, possibly even $5,000).

Many community networks struggle to fund pizza for a monthly meeting.

Several representatives of community networks, myself included, approached the board and were told that “The board
would need a definition of community networks in policy before it could provide any fee relief to such organizations.”

The policy half was put in place and then the board declined to provide any of the requested fee relief. Since then,
several changes (reductions) in fees have occurred.

Today, fees are likely no longer a significant barrier to community networks use of this policy. However, that is a
very recent event and I would like to see us give community networks some time to determine whether this is a useful
avenue or not.

Further, since this is an IPv6-only policy, it may well be that most community networks still don’t perceive it as
practical to implement an IPv6 based network and so aren’t ready to take advantage of the policy yet, preferring instead
to focus on whatever mechanism they are using to deal with IPv4.

> 2. Is the current policy is sufficient for you 
> (and other community networks like you) 
> to get space without sections 2.11 and 6.5.9?

From the perspective of the community networks I’ve been actively involved in, it’s a mixed bag. There are still
advantages to preserving these sections in some instances.

> 3. Do you (and others like you) believe they should
> qualify under "Community Networks" but do not because 
> the definition is overly narrow? 
> [explain how we might extend the definition to cover you]

From the perspective of the community networks I’ve been actively involved in, policy was not the problem,
cost was the problem. The policy as is is helpful, but was not helpful enough. Recent general changes to
the fee structure would now make taking advantage of the policy economically viable to some of these

> 4. Did you get space under a different policy,
> but still believe you would have been better served
> if you were able to fit under the "Communities Networks"
> definition?

From the perspective of the community networks I’ve been actively involved in, no. Economics being the
primary barrier, no other policy would work, either. Yes, we would have been better served under the
community networks definition _IF_ such service had been economically viable, but that was not the
case until recent changes.

> Please note if you think you should be considered a community network,

> and why. (e.g. I am Your Neighborhood Net.  We should be considered a 
> community network because we offer "free" WiFi to our community.  We
> hold monthly meetings that cost $10 / person, but half of that covers the
> price of the pizza, the rest is a donation for our ISP fees and replacement 
> equipment.  Occasionally, a community member will buy and donate an 
> access point so they can get better coverage, or speed.  Neither 
> Your Neighborhood Net, nor people associated with it make any money)

All of the community networks I’ve been involved in had no cost to attend their monthly meetings,
provided free wifi to some service community, depended on donations from local ISPs or other businesses
(service donations) for connectivity, and if there was pizza at the meeting, it was funded by everyone
chipping in for the pizza. The equipment was generally donated and/or purchased with donations from
individual organizers/volunteers involved in the community network. Space and power for the equipment
was donated by individuals, companies, and in some cases, civic entities (water districts, police,
EMA, etc.).

Many of these networks were/are operated by Amateur Radio operators and often had some connection and/or
intent to provide services for ARES/RACES and/or local emergency management authorities.

> Please ask any community networks you know to chime in on this thread!

Though I am no longer directly actively involved in any of these networks, I hope that the above
historical and current information is useful to the discussion.


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