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[AfriNIC-rpd] What is our take on the central pool IPv4 exhaustion?

Bill Woodcock woody at
Sat Aug 11 18:03:49 UTC 2007

      On Sat, 11 Aug 2007, Richard Bell wrote:
    > I have not followed the debate in detail. However clearly the cost to operators of upgrading their networks are significant. Furthermore the relative growth of african networks is gaining momentum.  Since many networks rely on the second hand equipment markets to grow cost eff ectively and since africa has the smallest share of existing ipv4 allocations, why not do something radical like lobbying for afrinic to get the lions share of what's left..................

This debate is, more or less, occurring already.  Since you have to get 
agreement between the five RIRs, and particularly because Latin America is 
in the same boat you are, to some degree, economically and 
conservation-wise, it's politically unlikely that AfriNIC would receive 
"the lion's share" per se.  However, receiving an extra one or two /8s is 
a possibility, if you make a strong enough case for it.

A case that I've been trying to make is similar to one you just mention: 
since the cost of the minimum new IPv6-capable router is about a tenth the 
annual salary of an average American, but about ten times the annual 
salary of an average African, there's a huge extra cost which African 
networks will encounter in moving to IPv6, and thus they need more time 
for IPv6-capable equipment to "trickle down" through the resale market, et 
cetera.  So far, this argument hasn't gotten much traction.

Another case that I've made with somewhat more success is that if the 
African market isn't given room for future growth, it will not be able to 
develop as a potentially lucrative trading-partner for businesses in other 
regions.  In other words, if you don't have IP addresses, you won't be 
able to do as much electronic commerce with companies in other regions in 
the future.  I had not expected that argument to be more compelling than 
the other one above, but you find out what works by trying them out on 
people, and this one has made more converts so far.

I would advise everyone on the list to take this debate very seriously, 
and think about the issues surrounding IPv4 depletion.  I'd say that there 
are two categories of issue: first, how we deal with resources in the 
short time between now and when the last new IPv4 addresses are depleted (for 
instance, does AfriNIC get a larger share to account for future growth, 
which isn't possible under current allocation policies), and second, how 
we deal with the trading or reassignment of addresses _after_ depletion, 
when AfriNIC has no more to give out, and they have to be moved back and 
forth between users.  Will speculators be allowed to drive prices up, or 
will the market be regulated as it is now, to only include qualified 
recipients, and keep costs lower?

These are very active policy debates, and we have very little time to 
settle on what we, collectively as a global community of Internet users, 
are going to do.  So think hard, and talk this out.  Active public debate 
is the only way to arrive at a good conclusion.


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