Fragments - The Internet Protocol Journal, Volume 11, No. 3

Global Policy Proposal for Remaining IPv4 Address Space

Global Internet Number Resource Policies are defined by the Address Supporting Organization (ASO) MoU [1]—between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Number Resource Organization (NRO)—as "Internet number resource policies that have the agreement of all RIRs according to their policy development processes and ICANN, and require specific actions or outcomes on the part of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) or any other external ICANN-related body in order to be implemented." Attachment A of this MoU describes the Development Process of Global Internet Number Resource Policies, including the adoption by every Regional Internet Registry (RIR) of a global policy to be forwarded to the ICANN Board by the ASO, as well as its ratification by the ICANN Board. In this context, the ICANN Board adopted its own Procedures [2] for the Review of Internet Number Resource Policies Forwarded by the ASO for Ratification.

Among other features, these Procedures state that the Board will decide, as and when appropriate, that ICANN staff should follow the development of a particular global policy, undertaking an "early awareness" tracking of proposals in the addressing community. To this end, staff should issue background reports periodically, forwarded to the Board, to all ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees and posted at the ICANN Web site.

At its meeting on 20 November 2007, the Board resolved to request tracking of the development of a global policy proposal for allocation of remaining IPv4 address space, under discussion in the Regional Internet Registries. The status overview presented below is compiled in response to this request and will be further updated as developments proceed, for information to ICANN entities and the wider community. This is the fifth issue of the tracking of this policy.

Originally, two slightly different global policy proposals were introduced for allocation of the remaining IPv4 address space:

  • A version (1) "Global Policy for the Allocation of the Remaining IPv4 Address Space," first presented at LACNIC X in May 2007
  • A version (2) "End Policy for IANA IPv4 allocations to RIRs," first presented at APNIC 24 in September 2007

Both featured the same approach, distribution of an equal number N of /8 IPv4 address blocks to each RIR when the IANA free pool would reach the threshold value of 5 × N, but differed in the proposed value of N, notably 2 or 1, respectively. The proposals were discussed in parallel in the RIRs and regarded essentially as one proposal, with a view to converging on a value for N. In February 2008, agreement was reached for a unified proposal (3).

The current proposal is thus:

  • Version (3) "Global Policy for the Allocation of the Remaining IPv4 Address Space," first presented at APNIC 25 in February 2008.

The proposal was introduced at the subsequent meetings of all other RIRs. It has now been adopted in ARIN, AfriNIC, LACNIC and RIPE, and is in final call in APNIC. If adopted by all the RIRs, the proposal will subsequently be handled by the NRO Executive Council and the ASO Advisory Council according to their procedures before being submitted to the ICANN Board for ratification. A table [3] can be found on the ICANN Website that indicates the status within each RIR for the current proposal. Hyperlinks are included for easy access.

It should be noted that other policy proposals have been put forward and are being discussed regarding IPv4 address space exhaustion, although only those mentioned above have been scoped as global policy proposals in the sense of the ASO MoU, that is, focusing on address allocation from IANA to the RIRs, and recognized by the ASO AC as global policy proposals in that meaning.



Upcoming Events

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) will meet in Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 16 – 21, 2008. In 2009, IETF meetings are scheduled for San Francisco, California (March 22 – 27), Stockholm, Sweden (July 26 – 31) and Hiroshima, Japan (November 8 – 13). For more information see

The North American Network Operators' Group (NANOG) will meet in Los Angeles, California, October 12 – 14. Immediately following the NANOG meeting, the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) will meet in the same location, October 15 – 17. See and

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The Internet Protocol Journal

Ole J. Jacobsen, Editor and Publisher

Editorial Advisory Board

Dr. Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist
Google Inc, USA

Dr. Jon Crowcroft, Marconi Professor of Communications Systems
University of Cambridge, England

David Farber
Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy
Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Peter Löthberg, Network Architect
Stupi AB, Sweden

Dr. Jun Murai, General Chair Person, WIDE Project Vice-President,
Keio University Professor, Faculty of Environmental Information
Keio University, Japan

Dr. Deepinder Sidhu, Professor, Computer Science & Electrical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Director, Maryland Center for Telecommunications Research, USA

Pindar Wong, Chairman and President
Verifi Limited, Hong Kong

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