Sprint's route filters and Europe

  A) The socalist approach
  B) The capitalist approach

The argument appears to be more well-rehearsed than that.


In essence it seems similar to the name-space argument.

If you mean the domain name-space, then I would disagree. For all intents
and purposes, the domain name space can be considered infinite.

We have a scarce resource, and must find ways of distributing it.

Agreed. It is a standard "tragedy of the commons" problem with the same

Past experience has shown that
the free market approach is in general the least of all evils, but
it has some pathologies; these are well known in economics in general
not just in terms of internet politics.

Yes, you are moving the problem around. However, people seem to prefer the
ability to pay for something and be done with it over filling out forms and
waiting in (virtual) lines.

The main issue is that we
have a single supply (noone can go and set up another IP address space),
and the cost price is apparently zero.

How much does water cost?

For instance:

  1) we need to conserve route table space, lets charge for that,
     not addresses (irrelevant)

Specific case of peculiar non-linear cost curve complicated by the
fact that there has to be some economic disadvantage to poor
aggregation on a given amount of address space.

  2) AT&T (or some other evil speculator) will buy up all the
     address space (and ISPs are just going to sit idly by?)

Specific case of monopolistic disfunctionality.

The creation of a monopoly in IPv4 address space can't happen. Too much has
been distributed to too many players. Further, even assuming somebody goes
out an buys all the address space, as soon as they try to put the screws to
MCI, Sprint, UUNet, etc., those service providers would likely simply
declare some chunk of the address space as "theirs" and start routing it.

The only reason the service providers do not do that now is because the
registries provide a neutral, universally accepted forum in which address
validity is defined. Without the registries (e.g., in the case of a
monopoly or cartel), address validity would need to be negotiated among all
relevant players. As the definition of "relevant" is somewhat nebulous, it
would seem unlikely everyone would agree.

  3) if you charge, then poor organizations can't connect
     to the Internet (so who's paying for their connectivity?)

Specific case of the merit good argument.

Good argument? If an organization wants to connect to the Internet, it is
almost certain the address cost will be so far down in the noise as to be
undetectable. If address costs were a significant portion of the total
costs, there is always NAT/ALG.

  4) you can't charge for addresses because they're just
     numbers and have no value (tell that to the US Treasury)

Urmm... see the market for options and derivatives.


Historically the way to prevent such market disfunction has been
regulation of this sort.

What dysfunction are you trying to prevent?

Which is exactly what Internic, RIPE, etc. do.

No, that might be what the could do, but it isn't what they do now.

However, where regulation is different in different geographical
areas in what is effectively a global market place, it causes problems.
c.f. the telecoms industry.

Agreed. That's why the regional registries try to work together.