<Let's see, this argument has now been had on CIDRD, Big-Internet, Com-Priv,
and now it seems to have struck NANOG. Anyone care to guess how many more
mailing lists we can have the same debate one? This is really tedious, stupid,
and wasteful, everyone.>

    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.

This whole conversation would be a more productive if we could basically (see
below for exceptions) leave the large and small providers out of it, as well
as people looking out for whomever, etc.

This whole renumbering/topopology-based-addresses stuff all has its roots
years and years back, before we had *any* providers, large, small, or
gargantuan. It's here now for reasons that have nothing to do with providers
or business reasons. As things stand now, unless we change the Internet so
that IPv4 addresses are no longer used by the routing, we have this
renumbering/TBA stuff to wrestle with.

So, please let's not hear anything more about large providers looking out for
anyone, small providers losing, etc, etc. That may be the *effect*, but it's
not the *cause*. Anyone who thinks otherwise has ahold of the wrong end of
the stick.

The one exception to all this is that in any hierachical addressing scheme, as
one goes up the tree eventually one gets to chunks of the network which are
large enough that one doesn't need to aggregate anymore, and if you're a very
large provider, maybe you get to be one of those high-level chunks. These
chunks, being top level naming objects, wouldn't have to rename as the
topology changed. So, in that sense, maybe the very large providers have an
advantage. I don't know how to fix this.

    However, I feel .. that a competitive market place which allows small
    niche providers to compete will benefit the Internet in the long run.

All else being equal, I agree with you. However, we have to have a working
Internet first, and as long as IPv4 addresses are used by the routing, they
have to be aggregable, which means they have to be connectivity-based, which
means they change when you move. Within that envelope, I'm open to

    it is not clear to me how a policy which only enables organizations able
    to justify /18 portable independent allocations for reassignment ... will
    provide a competitive environment which includes small niche providers.

I personally think the whole concept of filtering routes based on prefix size
is an ugly stopgap, one with bad side-effects. All the prefix-size thing is is
an attempt i) to limit the current number of entries in the routing table by
getting rid of ones that likely only benefit a few people, and ii) to limit
the maximum possible size of the routing tables (although 2^18 is still
probably too big). The limit might have to move up if we fill the routing
tables with /18's...

    Maybe I'm missing something, maybe all this is being taken care of as I
    write this ... or maybe the Internet would be better off without all the
    small niche providers.

You seem to keep assuming that this is all being done to the intended
detriment of small providers. It's not. If there were a better solution
available already deployed (which is the timeframe we're talking in), I'm sure
we'd all be happy to use it. There isn't.

    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.

You seem to keep overestimating the degree to which this is driven by policy.
The policy is just strugling to ameliorate the bad side-effects of the
technical box we are in, and frankly, there isn't a lot to be done.

    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. ... 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".

"further their goals"? I'd assume that having a working Internet is a goal we
*all* share, and not just some nebulous crowd of large providers (AKA Bad

If you don't like the picture of telling your customers that, why don't you
try telling them "Sorry, we are only able to provide you with partial Internet
service at the moment because due to the way people have assigned addresses,
the routing has fallen over." Are they really going to care much about exactly
what the phrase is after "because"?