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[rpd] New proposal - "Out-Of-Region Use of AFRINIC Internet Number Resources" (AFPUB-2014-GEN-002-DRAFT-01)

Andrew Alston Andrew.Alston at
Sat Jul 5 06:14:33 UTC 2014

Hi All,

Firstly, let me start by saying I write here entirely in my personal capacity and what follows are views that are not necessarily representative of the views of the AfriNIC board or any other organisation or entity to which I am associated or affiliated.

I actually discussed this policy with Seun before it was posted, and I have certain areas of concern.

1) Summary of the Problem Being Addressed by this Policy Proposal

Currently, AFRINIC policies do not explicitly allow or disallow Out-Of-Region use of Internet number resources. This silence on an important facet of number resource management jeopardizes administration by leaving staff to arbitrarily decide how to handle Out-Of-Region requests. The imminent exhaustion of IPv4 aggravates the situation because it is anticipated that organizations from other regions will have more incentive to exploit this and any other loophole in AFRINIC polices to acquire resources for sale or use outside the region - a practice that is not in AFRINIC's best interests.
Firstly, I have stated before, and I will state again, having the amount of space AfriNIC has available and the low allocation rates is equally not in our interests.  The financial situation in AfriNIC as highlighted in the last two meetings is also not in our interests.  So, while I agree that having the resources used outside of our region may not be in the best interests of the african continent, this is what I would consider a dialectic.  Will this policy actually prevent resources flowing out of the region or will it simply encourage fraudulent applications and falsified whois entries and records?  I would argue the latter rather than the former.

2) Summary of How this Proposal Addresses the Problem

This policy allows up to 40% of Internet number resources in use by a member to be outside the region. It also tries to be a disincentive for organizations from other regions that want to acquire resources from AFRINIC for use in ways that are not in line with AFRINIC's best interests.
I do not like the phrasing that says  “ways that are not inline with AFRINIC’s best interests” .  AfriNIC’s mandate is to allocate resources to entities in the region who need them.  How those organisations utilise that space is immaterial to AfriNIC so long as the space is being used.  While I believe I understand the INTENT behind the phrasing, the phrasing itself is rather ambiguous and I would like to see it re-worded.

b. Notwithstanding (3.a), the number resources used outside the region at any given point in time shall not exceed 40% of the total space in use by a member. Total space in use shall be calculated as follows: if x be the allocation/assignment size; and x-y the amount of space in use at time z, then 40% of (x-y) shall be the ceiling).
Again, my problem with this is the lack of enforceability.  Vast stretches of this continent are still served by Satellite, and are also running on high latency low capacity links.  It is therefore virtually impossible to determine where the space is actually being used.  If I have a satellite hub in Europe with a thousand downstream customers all in central Africa, the hub is uplinked to a european provider, and the hub is originating the space, but the space is being used by the downstream customers in Africa, traceroutes to those customers from Africa are going to go via Europe, the BGP adjacencies are going to show the space being announced entirely to European providers, but the space is still used in Africa and latency to the space in Africa is going to be in the couple of hundred millisecond mark.  Conversely, if I state in whois records the space is in Africa but announce it elsewhere in the world and set the right RDNS, how is anyone going to PROVE otherwise?  Again, all this does is lead to falsified whois records.

c. AFRINIC staff shall at their discretion, and using whatever means are available, assess compliance with 3.a/b.

This is far to ambiguous for me, host masters are trained to evaluate the legitimacy of requests.  They are NOT network engineers, and as stated in the above example, evaluation of these things can be complex and require a fair amount of skill to figure out where things are being used.  If we’re going to pass a policy like this, then how these checks are done and to avoid complex and time consuming fights needs to be clearly spelt out.

f. This policy shall apply to past, present and future allocations/assignments made by AFRINIC.
I have an issue with this, and there is precedent.  Legacy space is not bound by the same rules as new allocations because it was allocated before those rules were implemented.  When laws are introduced in a legal system, or penalties for a crime are decreased or increased, it is not applied retroactively.  I would argue that applying this policy retroactively on already allocated space cannot be done.

In Summary, while I understand the sentiments of the policy and I to do not want to see the African resources stolen and pillaged by outside entities with no gain coming back to the African continent, I do not believe that arbtiary percentages and unenforceable policy are the way to ensure this.  I also understand the authors sentiment that the policy does not seek to slow the allocation of space, and this is appreciated, however, I would far rather see policy that actively seeks to drastically INCREASE the allocation of space.   Hence at this point, I for one cannot support this policy as it stands right now.



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