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[AFRINIC-rpd] New Policy Proposal: Inter RIR IPv4 Address Transfers (AFPUB-2013-V4-001-DRAFT-01)

Andrew Alston alston.networks at
Tue Jan 15 23:25:04 UTC 2013

Hi Adiel,

I write this email was some trepidation, but there are things implied in
your mail to this list that I feel I have no option but to respond to.

You imply that the I attempt to solve problems through the PDP list, that is
actually accurate, where I believe that AfriNIC allocation policies are
failing on a holistic level far beyond one or two individual applications.

Let us look for a second at the policies I have discussed on this list.

There was a policy put forward in Tanzania about the distribution of address
space, which I withdrew after opposition from the floor, that was completely
unassociated with any application.

There was a policy proposal muted on the list with regards to the
classification of higher education institutes as end users instead of LIR's.
The reason this was never put to formal policy, was because the community
indicated on this list that that was the assumed and de-facto position and
that such a policy was not necessary because of the de-facto position.  I
still have my doubts about this, since AfriNIC did attempt to classify
universities as LIR's, and if such a de-facto position existed, this would
not have happened, but the community spoke, so I listened.

The other policy proposal currently under discussion of which I am co-author
concerns the allocation of space to Higher Education again, and sets
specific ratios.  I stand by this as well, as I do believe that the needs of
higher education, who are the traditional sources for innovation and the
parents of the Internet as we know it today justify such a policy and the
removal of subjective evaluation of requests and complex red tape.

Beyond that, I challenge you to show me where else I have attempted to use
this process in any other way.

We have discussed many times the statements about concurrency of usage that
were made to me, and as you rightly point out, I have brought up this
position multiple times on the list.  Why?  AfriNIC has yet to justify to me
why in the process of three completely separate applications for three
different institutions, the goal posts and the amount of documentation for
each increased each time over a period of less than 4 months.  The only
explanation I was given was on the concurrency argument which did not exist
in the first two applications.  There is inconsistency and subjectivity
being applied here.

You have also said to me that I believe there are problems with AfriNIC that
I am overstating, and I will say,  I have not attempted, and will not
attempt, to address these issues via policy.  However, I have raised some of
these issues on this list since AfriNIC does not provide another forum for
discussion of such issues which is taken into consideration.  At the AfriNIC
meetings after the board feeds back to the community, we have what, an hour
to actually be heard from the floor. Considering the number of people in the
room each time, and considering these meetings only take place once every 6
months, this is hardly adequate, leaving this list as the only forum to
discuss issues that are extremely relevant.

We, as Africans, have a critical need for a strong and robust RIR that is
beyond reproach and question from the rest of the world.  AfriNIC provides
us a critical service.  Think on what is at stake here in terms of the
Internet industry, it was the very same internet industry that allowed
connectivity to people who used that connectivity to bring about some pretty
amazing changes on this continent.  It was with the help of the Internet
that the Arab Spring actually happened as one extreme example.  If resources
that allow the internet on this continent to function are not adequately
managed and allocated on a fair, equitable an non-subjective basis, we risk
damaging the structure of the internet on this continent as a whole.  As
such, yes, I stand up and speak when I see things that I view as flaws in
the current organization, because to stay silent when things aren't going
right is to be complicit in what is going wrong.

I have raised the issue of SLA's on this list earlier today, and I stand by
I stand by the questions I have raised about the fact that AfriNIC's
allocation process takes longer to allocate resources than other regions,
which we remain one of the most expensive RIR's in the world.
I stand by the questions I have raised both on this list and at meetings
about why an organization that has 40 staff has so few people in a position
to respond to allocation requests.  You state in your mail that 43% of staff
deal with allocations.  If that is the case, why is it that in querying the
status of applications I have been told on numerous occasions that people
are either on leave, off sick or travelling.
I stand by the questions as to the financial transparency of the
organization, considering that the questions were raised in Tanzania and I
do not believe have ever been adequately answered.
I stand by the questions with regards to the Annual report due to this
membership base.  I realize that under the company bylaws, which were
created as a result of Mauritian law, members of AfriNIC are not "full
members", and such status only applies to board members, however, I stand by
the fact that the membership on this continent which pays AfriNIC the money
it uses to operate deserve full transparency.
I stand by the fact that it is unacceptable for something as critical as an
IXP to be waiting 3 months for more address space after they have run out,
despite the fact that AfriNIC is directly involved in the creation of more
I stand by the fact that it is unacceptable that a financial institution
would choose to remain single homed rather than apply for provider
independent address space because of fear of the complex process that
AfriNIC subjects them to.
I stand by the fact that I questioned the complete farce that was the
election process in Gambia, and I stand by the fact that I objected in
Gamiba to the unveiling of a secret ballot, which until there was mass
protest from the floor was being permitted to go ahead by AfriNIC's legal
I stand by the fact that I object to NomCom attempting to shut down
discussion from the floor ahead of the floor electing the very people who
have to represent them to AfriNIC.

I have not attempted to address ANY of these issues through policy, instead,
I have raised the points and requested discussion, and I stand by those.

So yes, I am loud and outspoken, and yes, some would view that as
disruptive, but I live my life by the philosophy that it is possible to
bring about change through the use of one's ability to speak.  Speaking ones
views in a public forum often results in arguments, hurt feelings, and
bitterness.  That is because we cannot allow agree, and I do not ask for
anyone on this list to actually agree with me, infact, I welcome and
encourage anyone who disagrees with what I say to engage me and debate these
things.  I am open to having my mind changed, as I have demonstrated through
the withdrawl of both the Tanzanian policy and the EU/LIR policy.  However,
I also believe as I stated in Tanzania, that this community to often sits
silent while issues occur and are not addressed.  I cannot in good
conscience do that.

The fastest way to silence a critic is to address the issues, yet the
subjective evaluation of space requests, the bizarre allocation times, the
billing problems and the lack of transparency still persist.

These my thoughts and my views, and  I believe I have now said enough on
this issue, so while we continue to debate the policy proposal at hand, I
will now let this rest unless the community has feedback and input to which
I will respond, beyond that, I hope and pray that AfriNIC will provide this
community more time and more space on the floor in Lusaka later this year to
be heard, and that attempts to silence the voices of the community within
that forum will not be repeated.


-----Original Message-----
From: rpd-bounces at [mailto:rpd-bounces at] On Behalf Of
Adiel Akplogan
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 10:53 PM
To: rpd at List
Subject: Re: [AFRINIC-rpd] New Policy Proposal: Inter RIR IPv4 Address
Transfers (AFPUB-2013-V4-001-DRAFT-01)

Hello Andrew,

On 2013-01-15, at 17:53 PM, Andrew Alston <alston.networks at> wrote:

> Obviously though, first prize in my book is to use the remaining pool in
Africa, and get it allocated.  THIS is where I believe that AfriNIC is
currently failing, and failing badly.  Because of the current process, the
delays, the back and forth, the moving goal posts, the inconsistency and the
lack of service we are seeing out of the organization, there is a resistance
among many to apply for space.  

You have to substantiate more the fact the current process is what make IP
usage low in AFRINIC service region.  That is too simplistic and naive view
which I beg not to share. Not that I'm dismissing some of the issues you had
or raising. 

Remember, IP addresses are not resources that we are requested just to give
away to the first person that come and ask them (even if in our internal
policy we put emphasis on helping small requestors to get what they need as
easily as possible but still inline with policies). Demonstrated needs is
still at play. The IP Analysts (aka Hostmasters) have the responsibility to
do due diligence on all requests they receive and particularly for big
requests and/or suspicious ones. They have the ability to use their
judgement and assessment based on policy and information requestors provide
and they are allowed to ask any questions they need to ensure that the
request and the need are genuine and real. That is what the IPv4 allocation
policy request them (and AFRINIC as company to do). If the community want to
soften the process then we first need to change/review the IPv4 Allocation
policy (not only for education or High education as the connectivity need
can be extrapolate across the border) which could be seen as a good thing to
do at some extend. 

On a separate note you keep coming with the statement that you were told
that "if a student is in a Lab he is not using his mobile because it is off
so you can not plan 3 IP address per student in your planing" and conclude
from that that the hostmasters are being difficult and sometime even
"incompetent". First I think you need separate informal discussion that you
can have with staff and hostmasters when you pushing them to the edge (I
know you had personal informal discussion with the staff on various matters
where you try to push them hard toward you views) where they can tell you
things that may engage them as individual and not AFRINIC in such informal
discussion. Sometime it is just to push you as well to the edge to see how
far you are serious with your arguments . it is for you to prove them wrong
with facts. When you have escalated these requests to me I have checked all
the ticketing system for such statement and I can't find any (member of the
team though agree that they told you that in a discussion because you have
not given valid justification at the first place as they have requested you
. so that was just one statement amongst others to push so that you disclose
the real justifications of your requests - Which you eventually did as
requested and got what you needed). If you submitted a complex request you
should expect a complex evaluation process (at least based on the current
IPv4 policy). Does it happen to you to think that practices can be different
from one lab to another and from an university to another? Your 3:1 ratio is
not something that is true and demonstrable everywhere;  somewhere it can be
less and other place an context even more (based on current need). The
current utilisation and the 12 month plan are basically what Hostmasters use
to evaluate a request. I have been quiet on many of your statements on the
Hostmaster interaction with you but there are also many faces to the story
that you do not disclose fully. We are still in a full need demonstration
based allocation. If the community want that to change then a policy need to
be proposed.

You may have a point on some aspects of you frustration on delay but they do
not justify your desire to set a policy that suite your own case in every
corner and every time you face an unusual situation. If a an operator being
a University or not start with a huge request (/14 and more) with no
background whatsoever on the previous utilisation (legacy) of resources they
have been using over the past 20 years . it is obvious that if you have not
kept good track of your records and internal usage justifications, when you
are asked 20 years down the road to justify it will look a lot of work, but
hey you need to do it. The Hostmasters have handled more than 120 requests
last years and none have been really rejected (and only very few are pending
additional information from requestor). Yes some took time because they have
to ask all kind of questions and get justification for usage. This generally
happen for big requests and some which are not straight forward. If people
take the usage and the request of resources seriously and they have all
their facts right the process is generally fast. We have had several cases
where things went well and smoothly. There are some tweak here and there to
adjust process to the growth and believe me we are working hard on that over
the past few months. But woking on that also need other resources than IP
analysts and you are the first to complain that there are too much people
doing other things. Here is the distribution of resources used/allocated per
activity within AFRINIC:

Registration Service:  47%
Community Outreach:     3%
Policy Development:     7%
Training               12%
IpV6 Outreach:          8%
Software Maintenance:  11%
Administration:        11%

Almost half of our current resources are used to support Registration
service. You can not only look at those who have the title of Hostmaster but
also to all the other who allow them to the job right. The current ratio of
request per day per hostmaster is 2 in average (not only for new
membership/allocations but all other members requests). This is generally
reported in Registration Service report during each AFRINIC meeting.

We agree that there are things that need to be addressed/improved in term of
process and procedure, but you need not to look at things only from one side
of the fence. We have taken full note of the outcome of the past community
survey and integrated many aspect in our strategy for 2013 and related
budget currently in discussion. And we closely looking at further enforcing
some of our commitments in term of service quality. 

Thank you and as you know I'm alway available to discuss any issue that you
can have and address them. 

We are working and willing to work for the advancement of the region and our
community. But we can not expect AFRINIC to solve all the problem of the
continent and be on all front with it current resources and get perfection
from everywhere. I'm hereby committing AFRINIC to seriously (we are already
doing it) look at all issues raised in a sustainable way. 

- a.

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