Sprint wanted nothing to do with it, and referred to the Internic.

I specifically requested this allocation (for a mere /20 to satisfy the
slow-start policy) as permanent, not as a recyclable temporary assignment.

Everything I ever tried...and non-cooperation out of political motives

For what it is worth...

I must say I sympathize with Kai. While it looks like our clients
may come out ok in all this (I hope), we have had similar problems
trying to grow and operate as a small niche provider. It all seems to
stem from the understandable fact that the larger providers are trying
to look out for the interests of Internet as a whole as well as
themselves. If the small niche providers suffer it may, or may not,
be a small price to pay. However, I feel (granted I'm biased) that
a competitive market place which allows small niche providers to
compete will benefit the Internet in the long run.

Before I launch into my story I just want to say that while I welcome
sympathy for our predicament, I'm not particularly looking for it in
this case. We knew full well that the allocations we received from the
Internic may not be usable going forward, strange as that notion may
seem to those receiving them. We felt it was still the best route to go.

A few months ago we went looking for a /18 from the Internic for
reassignment to our clients. After about a month of discussion with
the Internic, we were unequivocally told we had to make due with a /19.
A /19 was all we could justify, and we do understand the need for such
justifications - we needed to show that we could make good use of the
/19 before they would consider talking with us further on the issue.
Furthermore, we had to make a decision or stop taking on new customers
at that point, so we took the /19 from the Internic and went ahead with

We went to the Internic looking for an /18 allocation instead of Sprint
or MCI for a handfull of reasons, including:

  1) Sprint and MCI (our two providers) were unwilling to provide us
     with a portable allocation. We do understand the rational behind
     this - we don't provide portable allocations to our clients either.
     However, we didn't want to be locked into a supplier - our clients
     would never understand being told they need to renumber if we
     ever did away with, or replaced, one of our suppliers. Furthermore
     we don't want to go punching holes in the large providers
     aggregations for, what I think, are obvious reasons.

  2) While we could only justify a /19, we were rather worried about
     what was going to happen with the /19's. We were well aware of
     Sean's opinions on filtering at the /18 and /19 level and his
     influence in issues such as this. He has the power to affect
     change in a way few others do. However, based on what we knew
     from forums like this and talking with people at Merit and
     elsewhere, we felt that it was likely that the /19's would
     go unfiltered so we took the risk.

  3) Being multi-homed, it seemed to make sense to announce an independent
     address blocks so as to avoid whatever complications that might arise
     in the future from the announcing of address blocks belonging to one
     provider into another provider at our level.

So now Sprint went ahead and filtered our /19 as they hear it from MCI.
They also hear it from us, so except for our loss of a backup route to
Sprint through MCI, we are ok. It looks like Sean will make, if he has
not already, an exception in our case - I hope all this doesn't change
his mind. I'm not so sure he will make exception in Kai's case or other
people in similar situtations. However, if the other major providers
follow suit on filtering the /19s on an incoming basis (outgoing filtering
I don't have an issue with), we will have a good bit of damage control to
do - some warning would have been nice. If we were not Sprint clients,
Sprint's action would have had a serious impact on our business, of course
arguably our own fault.

Going forward, my concern arises because it is not clear to me how a
policy which only enables organizations able to justify /18 portable
independent allocations for reassignment (at the moment I don't believe
you can even buy your way into such an assignment) will provide a
competitive environment which includes small niche providers. I don't
think an environment which locks small players into a supplier is
competitive from anyones vantage point. Maybe I'm missing something,
maybe all this is being taken care of as I write this (I did see
some good suggestions floating around), or maybe the Internet would
be better off without all the small niche providers.

My hope is that those parties who do influence policy creation will
leave room for small niche players players to compete when they do
come to agreement on this and future issues.

Also I hope that those same parties are cognizant of the fact that
actions they take to further their goals can have a serious impact
the small players out there. All this being a case in point. While
a little bit of incoming filtering by Sprint may have next to no
impact on the ability of Sprint to do business, it could devastate
a small niche provider someplace who has to say to their clients,
"Sorry, we are only able to provide you with partial Internet service
at the moment because Sprint doesn't like the addresses we assigned you".

Now that I've had my say, I'm going back to the sideline.

John Riordan
Vice President
Interport Communications Corp.
1133 Broadway
New York, NY 10010