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An Open Letter to Big Tech CFOs: Save the Internet Before You’re Forced

Dear Chief Financial Officers of tech giants,

The internet is in crisis, and you can lead your organization to help solve the problem. You’ll be well compensated, and you’ll enjoy massive public relations benefits. I fear that if you don’t, global governments will force your hand. There is a shortage of available IPv4 addresses but we are years away (possibly a decade or more) from IPv6 viability and adoption in North America. It’s estimated that the top tech firms are sitting on over 150,000,000 dormant (unallocated) IPv4 addresses today. These unallocated IPv4 addresses are desperately needed to sustain the size, availability, and evolution of the internet’s network and internet-capable devices.

I am concerned that if you, as big tech CFOs, don’t willingly lease your dormant IPv4 addresses to other organizations, your hand will be forced, and you won’t be fairly compensated. I am appealing to CFOs because leasing your unused IPv4 addresses turns an expense into a profit center of recurring monthly revenue. There is tremendous opportunity here to do the right thing and be well compensated for it.

However, failure to act now and provide your unallocated IPv4 addresses to the open market will likely result in little or no compensation for them. Recently the European internet registry RIPE NCC used a court order to seize IPv4 addresses from a bankrupt business. The goal is to reallocate them and help reduce the IPv4 shortage. This was previously unprecedented, but other governments will likely follow suit and become increasingly more aggressive with IPv4 seizures.

Furthermore, even the United States Department of Defense recognizes the current crisis and impending actions. In a recent bill proposal, the DOD was directed to sell off blocks of unallocated IPv4 addresses at fair market prices. The bill was ultimately not turned into law as the language was not included in the Senate version, but you must take note of what is happening. There is a finite number of IPv4 addresses (under 4.3 billion) and if they are not willingly introduced back into the open market by big tech CFOs, that action will be forced.

You have limited time to take advantage of this trifecta of opportunity: create a recurring revenue stream, avoid legislation and regulation, and enjoy the amazing public relations benefits of doing the right thing. Let’s face it, people love your services but there is negative sentiment toward your organizations. We are relying on you to help save the internet. This is your chance to break through the congressional testimonies, antitrust lawsuits, censorship accusations, and all the other negative press big tech is facing. Instead, you can lead your field and do the right thing by reintroducing your IPv4 addresses into the open market.

So, we appeal to you to reintroduce your dormant IPv4 addresses to the open market. Lease them to organizations who need them. Enjoy the additional revenue and the positive PR. We are trusting you to do the right thing quickly.

By Vincentas Grinius, CEO and Co-Founder at IPXO

Grinius is a vision-driven, forward-thinking IT entrepreneur with deep technical understanding and commercial acumen. Grinius brings more than a decade of experience in founding, developing, funding, and leading successful IT businesses.

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Just use IPv6 Kenyon Ralph  –  Jan 5, 2021 9:08 PM

???????????????????? No. The right thing to do is deploy IPv6 and let IPv4 die already.

I have to agree. The space recoverable Todd Knarr  –  Jan 6, 2021 4:57 AM

I have to agree. The space recoverable from leasing out unused IPv4 address space is tiny compared to the demand. At some point in the not-so-distant future the big cloud providers are going to simply stop offering public IPv4 addresses at any reasonable cost, and then even corporate internal networks will be faced with either supporting IPv6 in full or losing access to critical outside services that're hosted on those providers when outside vendors decide they aren't willing to foot the steadily-increasing bill for IPv4 space for their expansions.

Someday Vincentas Grinius  –  Jan 6, 2021 3:59 PM

I genuinely believe that this is the only option for the future Internet. No doubt! However, it would be best to think about what will happen during the current adoption phase, which will not get completed any time soon considering the IPv6 adoption rate, which is around 35% since 1999.

Actually, IPv6 adoption is higher Dan York  –  Jan 12, 2021 10:28 PM

Vincentas, With the "35%", I'm assuming you are talking about Google's latest IPv6 stats which shows the percentage of users that access Google over IPv6. That is their current percentage globally. However, if you look at their per-country IPv6 adoption stats, you can see higher levels of deployment within some countries. For instance, they are currently showing IPv6 deployment at 44% in the USA, 53% in Germany, and 55% in India. Looking at the World IPv6 Launch measurements from December 2020, you can see even higher levels of IPv6 deployment in some networks. For instance, the combined US mobile carriers are showing 87% IPv6 deployment across their networks. There is no doubt there is still a good distance to go, particularly within enterprise networks, but IPv6 deployment IS moving ahead.

The point is different Vincentas Grinius  –  Jan 15, 2021 7:48 AM

Dan, thanks for clarifying to me. Correct, I have checked Google stats for IPv6. However, we can slice and dice with the IPv6 adoption from different angles, but the problem remains the same, the majority of the Internet is still on IPv4. My point is that we are still a decade or two away from the major IPv6 breakdown, and new ideas to develop technologies supporting dual-stack is nowhere near yet. Actually, that is a good reference reflecting that from the guys who directly is involved with IPv6 on the daily routine: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/dmitry-zaitsev-5322288_networkengineer-ccie-networkautomation-activity-6745230637067833344-pYpY

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