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

Owen DeLong owen at
Thu Jan 17 10:59:43 UTC 2013

Sent from my iPad

On Jan 16, 2013, at 9:59 PM, Guy Antony Halse <G.halse at> wrote:

> 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.

You could, but you would be paying LIR fees, not end-user fees, and, IMHO,
rightly so. You are acting as an LIR for those institutions and not as an

> 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).

Which really has very little to do with whether you should be considered
an end-user vs. an LIR. If you're operating an ISP, for profit or not, you
are operating as an LIR and not as an end-user.

> 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.)

No, the policy doesn't say that. It only says that you will not be classified as
an end user if you use the resources in that manner.

> 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).

The policy over all seeks to do that. The clause to which you are objecting
in this message, OTOH, seeks only to guarantee that HEIs that are not
acting as LIRs outside of their campus are not treated as LIRs.

> 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 ;-)).

GIven that your objection was based on the incorrect perception that the clause would
affect your ability to obtain the space and not the fee structure under which you were
classified, does that clarification help you to accept the original wording or do you still
feel that a change is required?

Personally, I would oppose classifying an HEI that is reassigning address space to
independent organizations off campus as an end-user. Such actions are those of
an LIR and the institution should, in fact, be treated as an LIR in that case for
purposes of fee and policy evaluation.

However, I will note that the policy proposal allows for the space to be assigned or
allocated to the institution regardless of whether they are classified as an LIR or
an end user. It merely provides a slightly broader definition of end user and makes
it easier for most HEIs that should qualify as end-users to do so.


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