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[AFRINIC-rpd] Academic IPv4 Allocation Policy Second Draft (AFPUB-2013-GEN-001-DRAFT-02)

Guy Antony Halse G.halse at
Thu Jan 17 07:59:19 UTC 2013

On Wed 2013-01-16 (22:29), Andrew Alston wrote:
>    3.7) HEIs will be classified as End Users under this policy, on
>    provision of a duly authorized letter from the institution management
>    stating that address space allocated will not be used outside of the
>    campus/academic environment.

This provision gravely concerns me, since it impinges on most definitions of
academic freedom.

I'll give you a concrete example:  we provide Internet access to a number of
disadvantaged schools, primarily as a public-benefit/community engagement
exercise.  This is it's documented purpose, and the purpose I'd have to
provide if challenged.  By the definition above, I could not use space
assigned from this policy for this purpose.

However, being a university, we see this as an opportunity to conduct (at
times somewhat loosely defined) research into the impact of providing
Internet access where none existed previously.  The availability of this
resource has thus directly resulted in a number of peer-reviewed papers
being published, in a wide variety of unrelated disciplines (education,
anthropology, computer science).

What the policy is saying is that I have to tell our academic staff that
they can't conduct this sort of research, because we would not be allowed to
set up the underlying infrastructure in the first place.  (Note that this is
conceptually different from being technically or financially unable to.)

I believe that any university senate (or equivalent academic governing body)
would be hard pressed to assent to such a provision.  I know I'd have
difficulty getting it through ours...

Having said that, I do see the point of what the clause it trying to do.  HE
institutions frequently have no-competition clauses in contracts with
providers, particularly ones that offer them resources at discounted rates. 
That's essentially what this policy is proposing (making it easier to get IP
resources if you're a HE institution).

Thus I'd rather see the requirement in 3.7 worded along the lines of a
no-competition clause, perhaps something like:

  ... stating that the address space will not be used for any for-profit
  activities that are not directly related to the core business of a HE
  institution (teaching, learning, research, and community engagement).

You'll not I have deliberately included "community engagement".  This is
because community engagement is considered one of the pillars of HE in many,
many countries.  (Simply google "university community engagement" for
examples ;-)).

- Guy
Manager: Systems, IT Division, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Email: G.Halse at   Web:   IRC: rm-rf at
*** ANSI Standard Disclaimer ***                                    J.A.P.H

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