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IPv4 Addresses Not Property, Canada Weighs in on the Nortel/Microsoft Transfer

The recent tempest in a teacup on ARINs PPML list over the transfer of IP address blocks from Nortel (a company in Chapter 11) to Microsoft has some interesting Internet Governance dimensions that are yet to be discussed.

One aspect that has been overlooked amidst all the sound and fury, is the governmental perspective on IP address transfers. In the past decade, the continued discussion over the internalisation of “Critical Internet Resources” has brought many governments to positions of strong support for the current regionalised IP addess distribution system. This is largely due, I think, to the capacity building done over the years by the Internet Technnical Community or “I*s”.

One example of this support is a letter written by Industry Canada (a department of the Canadian government). The letter supports the Internet Technical Communities long standing position that IP addresses are not property that can be bought and sold. What is interesting to me is that a government is both paying attention AND that they are willing to intervene in a civil matter in this way. This is very encouraging and shows that governments do have a strong interest in maintaining the current system of IP address distribution. I think that Canada holding the position of GAC Chair is no coincidence, it seems that the more active a government is in Internet Governance circles, the deeper the level of understanding.

The journey of capacity building around this Internet Governance issue is clearly not over yet, as there are still some folk (who have been active and influential in these circles) who insist, despite evidence to the contrary, that as a result of the recently announced Nortel/Microsoft transfer, IP addresses are now property that can be bought and sold at whim. The negative effects of monetising IPv4 (legacy) numbers is addressed in the Canadian letter, and is a subject that may need greater focus by capacity building programs (ISOC and Diplo spring to mind) in coming months.

As an aside, the most recent ISOC newsletter also weighs in on this issue, saying “The Internet Society is in full agreement with the RIR policy positions that any transfer, whether between going concerns or from the estate of a defunct company, should be performed in ways consistent with the relevant RIR policies.”

“+1” to both ISOC and Canada!

By McTim, Internet policy and governance consultant

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Worth reading / commenting on - related Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Apr 20, 2011 10:56 AM
Yes, it is entertaining! McTim  –  Apr 20, 2011 5:39 PM

I wish I could attend the Giganet thingy Milton is putting together, JC is a speaker, so there could be fireworks!! I'm sure reason will prevail.

If you are having trouble getting the document, here is a workaround McTim  –  Apr 20, 2011 5:28 PM

All at least one reader hasn’t been able to read the letter via the link I posted.  here is another way to get there: http://chapter11.epiqsystems.com/NNI/docket/Default.aspx

then find #5253…left click on the word “Document” on the right hand side of entry #5253, and you will see a popdown entitled “Ch-11 -KG Nortel Networks In Response (B)”  click on that, and voilà

Re-selling of IPv4 addresses Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond  –  Apr 21, 2011 9:28 AM

The fact is that some people and organizations are pushing for a second hand IPV4 grey market.
In my opinion:

- it is worth whatever it’s worth, but it will have very little operational value whatsoever in the grand scheme of IPv4 address run-out and the need for IPv6. Re-allocation of IPv4 addresses is a drop in the Ocean compared with tomorrow’s Internet networking needs
- watch out for the first IPv4 addresses that will be sold/transferred and will end up being non routeable. Like selling of faulty equipment from some back street trader.
- are we placing too much emphasis on this subject? Is this a case of some interested parties trying to make as much noise a possible so as to keep a possible PONZI scheme working?

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