Sprint's route filters and Europe

Alex.Bligh amb at xara.net
Mon Jun 17 13:21:38 UTC 1996

> >From my (admittedly biased) perspective, it would seem there are two
> options:
> 	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. We have a scarce resource,
and must find ways of distributing it. 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. 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. 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.

> 	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.

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

Alex Bligh
Xara Networks

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