IPv4 address exchange

Benson Schliesser bensons at queuefull.net
Tue Apr 19 22:13:16 UTC 2011

On Apr 19, 2011, at 4:26 PM, Jeff Wheeler wrote:

> I don't think the cost of IPv4 addresses has anywhere to go but up.
> This mysterious Nortel/Microsoft transaction would seem to give
> credibility to an assumption of increasing cost.

I think we can agree on this.  It is the natural result of exhaustion - scarce supply, ongoing demand.

It is important to note, however, that this is orthogonal to the registry management structure; we could have increased IPv4 acquisition costs with ARIN, or increased IPv4 acquisition costs with somebody else.

>  Therefore, it stands
> to reason that the cost of "database services" associated with being a
> holder of IP addresses will be inconsequential.
> If anyone thinks that won't be true for IP addresses, by all means,
> let that person propose to overhaul the IN-ADDR system and possibly
> the WHOIS database.  I do not think stakeholders will agree with their
> views.  IP addresses are finite, and the cost of acquiring them will,
> in all likelihood, dwarf the cost of publishing ownership/custodial
> information or operational DNS records.

As I agreed above, acquisition costs will go up regardless.  The real question is total cost, which is (basically) the acquisition price plus the ongoing registry maintenance costs.

As one possibility, an overhaul might result in less expensive (or even "free") registry services being provided by brokers.  Assuming market prices aren't affected by the overhaul, the total cost might thus be lower with a broker versus ARIN.  Perhaps this is a small impact, but it's real.

More importantly, an overhaul to the registry system that facilitates liquidity in the market may introduce additional benefits.  (e.g. more predictable and/or lower acquisition costs)  I'm not an economist and I'm open to contrary arguments, but I see potential upsides to an overhaul that don't exist with the status quo.


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