[arin-ppml] Are we an ISP or an End-User? Can our designation change at a later time?

Lisa Liedel lliedel at arin.net
Tue Jan 3 13:06:07 EST 2023

Hello Jamie,

An organization can request IP addresses from ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) if they are an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or a Local Internet Registry (LIR), or if they are an end user organization. ISP/LIRs provide Internet services to other organizations or customers, while end user organizations request IP addresses exclusively for the operation of their own network and use by their employees.

ARIN’s policies for end users and ISP/LIRs differ, and an organization must meet the qualifications for the type of request they are making. There is a one-time conversion available for organizations to switch from being an end user to an ISP/LIR.

IPv6 policies have different qualifications for end users and ISP/LIRs as well. End users may request a minimum allocation of a /48, while ISP/LIRs have a default allocation of a /32 but may request a /36 or a /40. In either case, the organization must meet the minimum qualification requirements to receive an allocation of IPv6 addresses.

You can email or call ARIN’s RSD Team 703.227.9860. Our queue time for a phone call is rarely more than 15 seconds. 

Lisa Liedel
Director, Registration Services

On 1/3/23, 2:32 AM, "ARIN-PPML on behalf of Jamie Nelson" <arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net on behalf of nelsonjamie508 at gmail.com> wrote:

    ARIN newbie here.  I apologize in advance if these issues have already
    been covered somewhere.  I also apologize if this list isn't the ideal
    venue for these questions, but I suppose that some of them could point
    to a need for clarification in the NRPM or elsewhere.  My organization
    is not yet an ARIN member and there don't appear to be any
    public-access listservs that are more appropriate.  (I see that a
    public discussion list is in the works.)

    The terms "ISP" and "LIR" are used interchangeably in this email, in
    the spirit of section 6.5.1 of the NRPM.

    I work for a company that is preparing to become multi-homed later
    this month.  We currently use provider-reassigned address space, so we
    are getting ready to request resources from ARIN and therefore need to
    determine if we should classify ourselves as an ISP/LIR or as an

    If I were only to mention our primary business activity,
    manufacturing, it would be pretty clear cut that we are an end-user.
    Where it gets complicated, however, is that we are also running a
    small-time colocation operation at our headquarters.  This began as an
    accident, with us giving free hosting to a local nonprofit, but then
    some other people asked if they could pay to keep their equipment
    here.  We only have a handful of tenants, and they are mostly friends
    of the company.  The rates we charge are only slightly higher than
    break-even because we're not multihomed and we're not pretending to be
    a proper colocation facility (yet).  Our "ISP" business has no
    public-facing website and service is currently only offered by word of
    mouth.  To date, the growth of this side-hustle has been severely
    limited by our current upstream provider, which still hasn't
    implemented IPv6 and charges exorbitant fees for IPv4 address space,
    but things could change once we are multihomed and have our own direct

    Eventually, we will have to choose from one of two paths forward:
    commit to providing a higher level of service and expand the ISP
    operation so that it's worth our time, or shut it down and only
    service our primary business (which, either way, needs IPv6 and robust
    connectivity).  We would prefer to take the former path, as it will
    give our technology operations greater scale, but it won't be clear
    for at least another year which way we're headed. (once we've
    addressed our current connectivity shortcomings and can better gauge
    what existing and prospective customers are willing to pay)

    Basically, in one to two years, we'll have either fully embraced our
    role as an ISP, or we'll have exited that business and will be firmly
    in the end-user camp.

    1.) From our reading of the NRPM, it seems like we currently fall
    within the definition of an ISP, but what happens if this changes
    subsequent to our initial allocation? (*)  Likewise, what happens if
    an organization that was directly assigned resources as an end-user
    begins offering Internet services to other organizations?  The NRPM
    does not appear to address these scenarios.

    3.) Is conversion from ISP to End User (and vice versa) possible if
    the nature of an organization's business changes?  Is it necessary?

    4.) Is ISP/end-user status recorded in ARIN's database on a per-prefix
    basis, or is it per-organization?  How does one currently determine
    this status from Whois?  I tried to find examples of organizations
    that would typically be seen as end-users, but there were no clues in
    their organizational Whois results, and Whois queries on their
    prefixes all indicate "NetType: Direct Allocation", just like ISPs, as
    opposed to "NetType: Direct Assignment".  This would be consistent
    with a clue I found in the problem statement of Draft Policy
    ARIN-2022-12, which indicates that "direct assignments are no longer
    being utilized in ARIN databases", but does this then imply that the
    ISP/end-user distinction has been eliminated entirely?

    5.) Now that ISPs and end-users share the same fee schedule and voting
    privileges, what distinctions remain, other than differences in
    allocation rules and the obligation for ISPs to register

    * It can be assumed for the above questions that our organization type
    (whether ISP or end-user) will not impact the size of the IPv6 prefix
    that we qualify for and request, which we anticipate being /40.  In
    the hypothetical scenario where we would want to convert from ISP to
    end-user (assuming it's even possible), we wouldn't face the issue of
    not qualifying for an IPv6 block as large as the one that we were
    initially allocated as an ISP.  We have > 13 sites in our WAN.  I
    would be curious, however, to understand what might happen if an ISP
    were to have a larger allocation than that which it would qualify for
    once becoming an end user.

    Thanks in advance for any insight.
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