ARIN is *NOT* A Good Thing

This message is in response to Jim Browning's support for ARIN.
  It doesn't belong on NANOG, but because it originated there I
  feel I have to address it. Feel free to hit the "D" key now ...

  While everyone is entitled to their opinion, ARIN is no magic
  bullet and is the wrong answer for our industry. The supporters
  of ARIN seem to fall into several categories:

  a) You have a very small network and have NOTHING to lose if
        ARIN goes forward,
  b) You are filty rich and you don't mind paying big chunks of
        money for something that your tax dollars already support,
  c) You are a Canadian or Mexican citizen and you are tired of the
        US Government managing the resources you require to run your
  d) You work for an ISP, but as a technical person you have no idea
        what all this stuff costs and you really don't care,
  e) You are trying to suck up to the political structure because you
        are afraid to really voice your opposition,
  f) You are vying for a position in the ARIN organization, or
  g) You really don't understand what this ARIN thing is anyhow.

  While the ARIN proposal has gotten much better in the past three
  months, I still assert that there is *nothing* ARIN will give me
  for my $10,000 per year allocation fee that I don't get right now from
  the tax dollars I currently pay to support the National Science

  * It will take money that could have gone to support my network, my
     employees, and my customers, and instead divert that money to
     a yet another bureaucracy.
  * It will increase my costs, which will have to be passed along to
     my customers, which will effect my business.
  * It will not allow me to increase the size of my current address
     allocations any faster than the current InterNIC slow start
     policy allows (slow start has impacted us substantially in some
     of the school districts we have brought online -- at least Cisco
     has a product to address this dilemna [the PIX]).
  * It will not decrease the amount of time it takes to get a new
     allocation (although this has improved tremendously under
     Kim Hubbard's leadership).

  Worse, if ARIN goes forward, my company will be forced to join and
  support this organization because our very survival will depend upon
  it. This is equivalent to holding a gun to our head and extorting
  us to pay the $10,000 (or more) annual fee.

  Frankly, this whole "pay for" address policy is crazy -- the InterNIC
  made 60 million dollars PROFIT last year issuing domain names (while
  funding the assignment of IP address space AT THE SAME TIME). This
  has to be the biggest money grab in history -- 60 million dollars
  isn't enough for one monopoly to make? Unbelievable.

  For the sake of discussion, this is the following fee structure
  that has been proposed by ARIN (see the ARIN proposal page at

  Small $2500/year /24 - /19
  Medium $5000/year >/19 - /16
  Large $10K/year >/16 - /14
  X-Large $20K/year >/14

  Fees are based on your total allocation for the previous year,
  plus another $1,000 per year to maintain membership in ARIN.
  It is safe to say that any ISP able to receive address blocks
  falls somewhere between Medium and X-Large on this chart.

  I want to address each of the elements Jim Browning sets forth
  in his message of support for ARIN:

  > "It is of the utmost importance that the allocation of
  > Internet Protocol (IP) addresses not be jeopardized by the
  > turmoil currently surround the Domain Name System (DNS)"

  The inference here is that by creating a costly new bureaucracy,
  all our problems will go away. I see absolutely NO evidence of
  any legal or procedural mechanism that will prevent turmoil. There
  is only one IPv4 address space, so the concept of "alternate
  registries" (aka, like the alternate TLD proposals) has no relevence
  to address space allocation. Comparing address space to domain
  name allocation is comparing apples to oranges.

  > "IP Addresses, on the other hand, are of operational concern, and
  > timely and appropriate access to this resource is absolutely
  > required for the continued growth of the Internet."

  I put an allocation request in last Monday and received my new
  allocation Thursday. Even if allocation requests could be turned
  around in one-hour, paying an annual $10K fee is not worth it
  to speed the process up three days. Think about it.

  > "Obtaining consensus on any important Internet related topic is
  > excruciatingly difficult in today's environment. Nowhere is
  > this more obvious than in the debates over DNS and IP Addresses."

  There is nothing about ARIN that says we will all be in concensus.
  If anything, there will be tremendous dischord because we will have
  hundreds of ISPs voicing their opinions at the semi-annual ARIN
  meetings. The current NSF sponsored system does not foster this
  level of turmoil. If anything, ARIN will turn the currently stable
  IP address policy mechanism into a semi-annual slug fest.

  Slow start was an important policy to conserve address space and
  (dispite is short comings) was a necessary at the time. ARIN will
  not eliminate slow start or any other policy. Having a vote on the
  ARIN board will not eliminate debate over IP address policy.

  > "While ARIN has been a subject of hot debate, there is nonetheless
  > a rough consensus within the Internet community that establishing
  > a non-profit entity to handle the administration of this vital
  > function is both necessary and appropriate."

  There is one -- the same one that has been funded by the NSF since
  the mid 1980's. Why change something that has worked so well in
  the past? There are no substantive advantages to ARIN, and it will
  cost all of us a lot more money.

  > "There are also issues which still need to be resolved, and a
  > lot of work which needs to be done."

  Anyone remember what it was like to register a domain name in 1994?
  And we want to do that to our IP address allocation mechanism?
  Start ARIN and then wait for the systems to fall in place? I think
  that is a recipe for total disaster. It took YEARS for the current
  InterNIC to get its act together.

  > "There is "running code" in the form of the people and systems
  > currently performing the function, and the two similar entities
  > (APNIC and RIPE) which are already in operation under similar
  > charters."

  APNIC and RIPE are not run by governmental entities and must charge
  for address space in order to exist. They get that address space
  from the current system that is under control of the NSF. As a US
  taxpayer, I pay taxes to support the NSF. Because the NSF has
  alternate sources for its funding, ISPs and their customers do not
  have to make direct payments for address space. This keeps prices
  for Internet access low. Starting ARIN will not reduce your US
  taxes, it will simply add to the cost of doing business. For no
  additional benefit. Comparing APNIC and RIPE to the current US
  model is not fair or accurate.

  > "It is time for ARIN to move forward unfettered by Federal
  > intervention or oversight."

  I believe (as a US citizen) that the Internet is strategic to the
  United States, and control over the address space should remain with
  the US Government. The US funded the development of the Internet,
  and there is a substantial portion of the US economy that is riding
  on top of it. Giving control over this strategic asset to a non-profit
  organization that is beholden to nobody is foolishness.

  > "ARIN deserves all our support simply because it is the right
  > thing to do for the health of a growing and vibrant industry."

  Charging for IP addresses will raise the cost of an Internet
  connection. Raising costs will not improve the health of a growing
  and vibrant industry -- it is anathma to our industry.

  ARIN is the wrong answer for our industry. As an example, in the
  radio and television industry, members have fought for years
  to prevent charges from being assessed against the limited radio
  spectrum they use. Compare this to ARIN, where we are trying to levy
  substantial fees against members of our own industry. ARIN is a bad
  idea. It will continue to be a bad idea because it will always cost
  more that what we currently have with the NSF, and it will provide
  no substantive benefit. Slow start is not going away, and ARIN will
  not quell address policy debates. ARIN will hurt our industry, it
  will make the Internet more expensive for customers, and it will
  form yet another elite club. Like I said in January, ARIN is
  equivalent to throwing your money away.

  Unfortunately, like it or not, ARIN will probably go forward anyhow.
  And we will be writing big expensive checks to ARIN to keep our
  businesses running. I urge people to speak up now if you think
  ARIN is a bad idea. Lets work together to reduce cost, not increase

  Dave Stoddard, CEO
  US Net Incorporated

Jim Browning writes: