[sig-policy]Proposal: Recovery of Unused Address Space

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  • Subject: [sig-policy]Proposal: Recovery of Unused Address Space
  • From: "Paul Wilson" <pwilson at apnic dot net>
  • Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 17:37:53 +1000
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      Paul Wilson
      Proposal: Recovery of Unused Address Space
      Author: APNIC Secretariat
      Version 1.0
      Within the address space managed by APNIC, there is a large quantity of
      "historical" address space which was allocated prior to the establishment of
      any service agreement by APNIC. This address space is not subject to any
      formal written agreement and policies regarding its usage may not be clear.
      In many cases historical address blocks are unrouted and therefore likely to
      be unused, and in many cases the original custodian of the address space is
      not contactable.  Such address space is increasingly the target for
      hijacking or squatting, and may be used for illegal or antisocial purposes
      such as hacking and spamming.
      This document proposes to reclaim historical address space which has been
      previously allocated or assigned, but which is determined to be unused.
      After reclamation, such address space will be identifiable and therefore
      less likely to be targetted for misuse, and it may eventually be reallocated
      for active use as it is required by the Internet community.
      Historical address space is defined as address space which is not covered by
      a current agreement with APNIC (either by a membership or non-membership
      services agreement).
      Unrouted address space is defined as address space which has not been routed
      on the Internet for some specified period of time, as determined by the
      Routing Information Service (RIS) or other agreed means.
      Unused address space is defined as address space which is both unrouted and
      not used for any private purpose.
      APNIC has assumed management of historical address space from various
      sources, including the Early Registry Transfer (ERX) project, AUNIC, and
      APNIC's own early registrations.  ERX is providing the majority of this
      space (originating from the early InterNIC and related registries), and is
      due for completion during 2004.  
      It is clear that a significant amount of historical address space is not
      used, and has not been used for a long time.  Currently, around 36% of all
      address space which has been allocated does not appear in the global routing
      tables.  Assuming much of this space is unused, then such space could be
      made available for redistribution to other address space users, providing an
      improvement in overall address space utilisation and an extension of the
      useful life of the IPv4 address space as a whole.
      IPv4 address space has always been allocated or assigned on an understanding
      that it is for use in operational networks which are connected to the
      Internet, and for some time (at least since RFC2050) this has been a clear
      policy requirement.  Although early allocation policies were not well
      formulated, it has never been accepted that address space could be acquired
      and kept indefinitely without being used.
      It is now proposed that where address space has been allocated or assigned
      but has not been used for a reasonable period of time, action should be
      taken to recover that address space.
      Under this proposal the following administrative steps would be taken:
      1. A list of "top-level" historical address blocks will be obtained from the
      APNIC allocation manager.  This will contain all historical address blocks
      directly allocated or assigned by APNIC itself, or by another registry and
      later inherited by APNIC.
      2. For every block in that list, the Routing Information Service (RIS) will
      be consulted to determine whether the address block (or any portion of it)
      has been routed ince the establishment of the system in 2002.  Blocks which
      have not been routed will be added to a list of unrouted blocks.
      3. For every block which has not been routed, contact details will be
      obtained from available sources, and notification will be sent by available
      means of the intent to revoke unused address space.  Responses will be
      tracked using dedicated return email addresses and APNIC's request tracking
      4. Responses to these contacts will be handled as follows:
      A. if response is received and address space holder agrees to return address
      space, records will be updated accordingly, putting address space into
      "reclaimed" status.
      B. if response is received and address space holder does not agree to return
      address space, records will be updated accordingly. The handling of such
      blocks will be the subject of policies to be developed in future.
      C. if no response is received (or if only error responses or bounces are
      received) then the address block concerned will remain on the list for later
      5. After all blocks have been processed, the process will pause for 2
      months, then steps 2-4 above will be repeated.  
      6. After a period of 12 months, address blocks which are still unused and
      for which no response has been received will be placed into "reclaimed"
      After this project is complete, tha process of monitoring the "used" status
      of APNIC address blocks may be operationalised, so that this status
      information is available for use in cases of membership closure, transfer or
      NIR Considerations
      NIRs may choose to follow this process with regard to unused address space
      which exists with address blocks allocated to them.
      It is hoped that NIRs may also provide assistance to APNIC in contacting the
      holders of unused historical address space which is located within their
      respective economies.  
      It is proposed that this project should be announced and commenced 6 months
      after approval.