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[AfriNIC-rpd] Definitions of LIR versus End User

Andrew Alston alston.networks at
Sat Jul 21 19:34:11 UTC 2012

Hi All,

I've been sitting thinking about this a fair bit, and perhaps we do need a
very close look at the fee structure, that being said, under the way that
AfriNIC works, the fees are the domain of the board rather than the
community, hence the community is left with policy only options should they
feel the fee structures aren't working for them (Well, thats my
understanding, someone can correct me if I'm wrong).

Now, with regards to the policy, as I've said, I do feel that until we can
resolve the issue around the fee structures, we need the definitions
tightened up, and I still believe that, but I'm going to leave that alone
for a minute and look at the fees.

Here are a couple of thoughts on this firstly.

AfriNIC is an organization that is fairly new, operating on a continent
that has a fairly low internet penetration rate when compared with the
other regions.  They also, because they are the youngest of the RIR's, have
less total space to assign and hence less total overall revenue that can be
generated in annual fees.  This WILL have an effect on their pricing.
 However, this has to be balanced with economic reality, and that reality
is that the prices in Africa for internet related resources (be it
bandwidth, access, IP addresses etc) are also having an effect on growth in
the region.  I believe though (without empirical evidence I admit), that
the AfriNIC fees as they currently stand DO however promote systemic use of
network address translation.  The economic realities of operating in the
ISP environment in Africa leave people trying to scrape every cent from
anywhere just to survive, particularly with the smaller players trying to
start their own ISP's, and if you can NAT and save yourself a few thousand
dollars a year, well, that's whats going to happen.

Now, this leads to the next question.  Why are AfriNIC fees what they are.
 I will be the first to state, that AfriNIC has to be financially viable,
the organization HAS to generate enough revenue to sustain itself, that
being said, I think below we can look at the fee structures in any coherent
way, we need to understand certain things.  Therefore, I want to ask
AfriNIC, in the name of transparency, to provide certain information which
I have been unable to find on the website, so that the community as a whole
can analyse this.

a.) How many LIR's are there in each category of membership
b.) How many End Users are there in each category of membership.

Once we have answers to (a) and (b) we can potentially start looking at
shifting costs if necessary from one to the other (in particular on the
annual maintenance basis)

Then, the trick to lowering the costs of IP space is also to look at
AfriNIC's running costs, and since this is a community based organization,
I feel it is fair to question some of these costs and get some explanations
so that we can better understand where the money we, as the community, are
spending is going to.  The financial reports presented in Ghana where, in
my opinion, a little ambiguous and fairly hard to figure out exactly what
was meant by each line item, which also didn't help this situation.

I'd like to better understand the need for AfriNIC's staff compliment as
well, after all, AfriNIC's core business is to allocate IP addresses to its
community, yet it employs 34 full time staff according to its website, and
is advertising for more.  At the same time, from what I can see from the
website, and again, I say I am open to correction, it only employs 2
individuals in the hostmaster position.  These two individuals also travel
extensively, and this leads to severe delays in evaluating and approving
requests (which is the CORE business of AfriNIC).  I fail at this point to
understand why in a staff compliment of 34 staff, there seem to be a
relative few number dedicated to what is the core business, and I'd like
AfriNIC to comment on this.  I also understand the need for AfriNIC's
involvement in ICANN/IANA/etc, since we HAVE to be involved in the global
community, however, I would like to see what this involvement is costing
AfriNIC at the end of the day, and how this is contributing to the fees.

Basically, what I'm trying to get at is this.  A.) Are the LIR and End User
fees disproportional, and B.) are the costs involved in running AfriNIC
that necessitate these fees really justified and can we get better insight
into these running costs.

I think once we get some better understanding, particularly in regards to
the balance of the membership base, we can take a far better look at this,
and I look forward to hearing AfriNIC's response to the community on these


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