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Minutes

1. Welcome, Preliminaries
2. Report from the RIPE NCC
3. Presentation of the RIPE NCC 2008 Financial Report
4. Adoption of the RIPE NCC 2008 Audited Financial Report
5. Discharge of the Executive Board
6. Financial Status Q1/2009 and Outlook
7. Report from the Executive Board
8. Charging Scheme 2010 Scenarios
9. Voting Options for RIPE NCC General Meetings
10. RIPE NCC Executive Board Election
11. Close

1. Welcome, Preliminaries
RIPE NCC Executive Board Chair Nigel Titley welcomed attendees and started the General Meeting at 18.14.

2. Report from the RIPE NCC
Axel Pawlik, Managing Director of the RIPE NCC, explained that the Report from the RIPE NCC was presented in the RIPE NCC Services Working Group prior to the General Meeting and it was not presented again at the General Meeting. This part of the RIPE NCC Service Working Group forms an integral part of the General Meeting.

 

3. Presentation of the RIPE NCC 2008 Financial Report
Jochem de Ruig, Chief Financial Officer of the RIPE NCC, gave a presentation on the 2008 Financial Report.

Jochem concluded his presentation and asked if there were any questions.

  • A member asked a question on actuals versus the budget. He said the figures for sign-up fees and depreciation were very similar for 2007 and 2008 whereas the budget for 2008 is much lower than that. He asked where this difference came from. He said he had the same question in relation to depreciation figures.
  • Executive Board member Fahad Al Shirawi said that in relation to sign-up fees, if you look at the graph for take-up of services in 2008 and the applications in 2008 it can be seen that the number is extraordinarily high relative to previous years.
  • The member asked if that was the case, why was the 2008 income not higher than in 2007.
  • Jochem mentioned that the RIPE NCC has been conservative in its estimations. He said that, in 2009, the RIPE NCC has been more forward in its estimations, as the Financial Status 2009 presentation will show. In relation to the second question, he said the budget is made mid-way through the previous year, and for 2008 the intangible fixed assets were not fully taken into account.
  • The Chair added that because of a legislation interpretation change, there is a difference in depreciation terms in the budget and the actuals for 2008. The budget accounts for a depreciation term of five years while the actuals account for a period of three years.

4. Adoption of the RIPE NCC 2008 Audited Financial Report

The 2008 Audited Financial Report is contained within the RIPE NCC Annual Report 2008 and is available online.

The formal resolution:
"The General Meeting adopts the 2008 Financial Report of the RIPE NCC."

The resolution was accepted and there were four abstentions noted.

5. Discharge of the Executive Board
The RIPE NCC Annual Report 2008 and is available online.

The formal resolution:
"The General Meeting discharges the Executive Board with regard to its actions as they appear from the Annual Report 2008."

The resolution was accepted and there were two abstentions noted.

6. Financial Status Q1/2009 and Outlook
Jochem de Ruig, Chief Financial Officer of the RIPE NCC, gave a presentation on the financial status of the RIPE NCC for the first quarter of 2009 and the outlook for the rest of the year.

  • A member asked if there were any plans to decrease operational expenses in 2009.
  • The Chair said there would only be plans to decrease operational expenses if the number of members decreased, and this is not happening at the moment.
  • Fahad added that there has also not been shrinkage in the operational workload so there has been no decrease in operational expenses. He said if there were any decrease in the workload there would be a decrease in operational expenses.
  • The member said some expenses could be reduced through areas other than reducing workload, perhaps through considering outsourcing versus full-time employment.
  • Fahad responded that the matter of outsourcing was already being considered by the Executive Board, for instance through possible outsourcing of elections. He said some areas could be outsourced and some could not, and the management at the RIPE NCC does a good job of identifying these areas. He concluded that maximising returns on resources was always on the minds of the Executive Board and the management at the RIPE NCC.
  • Executive Board member Dmitry Burkov said nobody can predict the future but the Board does try to estimate various scenarios and not only those relating to the recent financial crisis but in all areas. Fahad added that the Board has requested scenarios based on the increase in membership in the first quarter of 2009.
  • An attendee commented on operating expenses that the Executive Board plans ahead as much as possible. He said the RIPE NCC is taking on big projects, so although expenses might go up, the Executive Board and RIPE NCC management will look for value for money. He said the Executive Board will make a decision to do what is necessary and RIPE NCC staff will implement it.
  • The attendee also said that the Executive Board tries to see that revenue matches expenditure, and that is why there are cash reserves. He said if the RIPE NCC needs to spend more money there is a financial cushion that can be used to provide flexibility. He said, in the past, the Board has returned money to members if the surplus was too high. He concluded that the RIPE NCC was unable to spend a vast amount of money on anything without the Executive Board first bringing it to the membership for approval.

7. Report from the Executive Board
The Chair gave the report from the Executive Board.

The Chair asked if there were questions and there were none.

8. Charging Scheme 2010 Scenarios
RIPE NCC Chief Financial Officer Jochem de Ruig gave a presentation on Charging Scheme scenarios for 2010.

  • A member said, given the lack of documentation in advance of this meeting and the big changes ahead that will impact on the Internet community, it is not wise to make substantial changes before the strategic direction is fully known.
  • A member said he provides a lot of provider independent address space and asked what price he should charge his clients. He said it was difficult to decide what to charge his clients until the charging scheme for next year is known. He suggested moving implementation of a new charging scheme to 2011.
  • Executive Board member Fahad Al Shirawi said it was impossible to give an exact price to charge clients. He said once a scenario is chosen it would be easier to determine.
  • The member asked if he would be forced to sign contracts before the charging scheme is known and Fahad said he did not have to do this.
  • Another member said we have already delayed implementation of a new charging scheme to give members time to prepare, which was a good thing. He thanked Jochem for the presentation and for giving food for thought. He envisioned having several charging schemes being put to the membership at the October 2009 General Meeting and letting members vote on the one they wanted.
    A member suggested that for the charging scheme at the end of this year, he would go for something that fulfils RIPE Policy Proposal 2007-01 in a way but also fulfils the principle of least surprise for LIRs.
  • A member asked about the surplus that the RIPE NCC shows in the presentation and asked if it could be used to bring regular fees down.
  • Jochem said this presentation was just a model, and to be able to compare the different scenarios in the model the fees are exactly the same. He added that it was not a plan to make more revenue from charging for PI assignments.
  • Executive Board Treasurer Janos Zsako said the model was a little misleading because it says if you charge 100 euro per PI assignment you get revenue of 2.7 million euro but obviously the figure would be less as some Internet Number Resources would be handed back. He also said that if the RIPE NCC does need to invoice so many people then there would be a lot of extra administrative work and associated expenditure. He said it would not be wise to lower fees because there is the possibility of extra revenue.
  • Fahad said if there is a bigger surplus then fees may be reduced in the future.
  • A member agreed that it would not be wise to delay charging for independent Internet number resources because it would be harder to begin charging in a year or two. He said the decision has been made so the membership will have to live with that decision. He also expressed disappointment that this discussion over fees did not take place at the same time as the policy discussion. He added that a discussion on what members could charge their clients was not appropriate for this forum.
  • A member said that the RIPE NCC needs revenue to cover its expenses but a charging scheme should not increase the revenue beyond the expense level of the RIPE NCC.
  • A member said that, in order to ensure that contracts were signed, the charging scheme should make fees for independent Internet number resources a low as possible and be as simple as possible.
  • The Chair said the model of staying the same was the cheapest scenario.
  • Address Policy Working Group co-Chair Sander Steffann commented on proposals B and C in Jochem’s presentation. He said under these models the amount of money LIRs will have to pay will eventually have to come from End Users who use those resources, so it is a bit misleading if the fee is capped. He said the idea of the working group was to place the burden on the End User, so if an LIR has lots of users they will have lots of users to spread the costs around. He expressed a preference for scheme B.
  • A member said the intention of the policy proposal was to rebalance the costs of Provider Independent (PI) space versus Provider Aggregatable (PA) space. He said PI is practically free and PA has recurring costs so everyone who is an LIR and is using PA space is at a disadvantage compared to those using PI space.
  • A member recommended that RIPE Policy Proposal 2007-01 be implemented as quickly as possible because it is not clear what will happen to the RIPE NCC after IPv4 addresses run out. He added that, before this happens, it would be best to implement a fair charging scheme for all members and then develop a policy for what happens after the pool of IPv4 runs out.
  • The Chair said that this is exactly what the Executive Board was planning to do.
  • A member objected to scenario C because he said no matter how big the cap on the different categories was, there would always be big LIRs with many customers who can charge very low fees for address space.
  • A member asked how scenario C was different from the current PA charging scheme and the Chair said it was very similar.
  • The member said any scenario where you don’t put a cap on direct assignments and where there can be a limitless fee for members violates the principle of least surprise.
  • Janos said, in scenario C, you do not have to be a customer of the member who pays the fees to the RIPE NCC, so the customer can choose any member and the danger of having a monopoly is averted.
  • The member said it is up to the member how much they charge the End User.
  • Fahad expressed his personal opinion that if there is a cap then a member that makes a million assignments can charge much less than someone who only makes a few assignments, and this is not an ideal situation.
  • A member said he felt strongly that the RIPE NCC should implement the right policy and he did not think this was scenario C unless it was a medium-term strategy to address the issue of least surprise for members.

The Chair asked for a show of hands on each of the scenarios.

Scenario A: Approximately 10 in favour.
Scenario B1: Approximately 23 in favour
Scenario B2: Approximately 5 in favour
Scenario C: Approximately 3 in favour

The Chair said that the Executive Board would take all of this into consideration and prepare options for the membership to review before the next General Meeting.

9. Voting Options for RIPE NCC General Meetings
RIPE NCC Managing Director Axel Pawlik gave a presentation on various voting options that could be used by the RIPE NCC membership.

  • Axel added that he thought the current voting mechanism worked and he would rather spend resources elsewhere, but this was a matter for the membership to decide.
  • Executive Board member Fahad Al Shirawi said personally he would like to see more participation and he would like to determine what the impact of implementing a new voting system would be before making a decision.
  • A member asked if there was data on what organisations would actually use the different mechanisms. He added that resources may be spent but it might not guarantee a big increase in numbers voting.
  • A member expressed his preference for voting through the LIR Portal and asked if it would be possible to investigate using a company like DHL for postal votes.
  • A member said in principle he would like e-voting on the LIR Portal and would like to open source it. He said he did not think it was business critical but it could also be used for other decisions to be made outside the General Meetings.
  • The Chair said the cost of installing a voting system on the LIR Portal would be 150,000 euros plus maintenance costs.
  • A member asked why a combination of all methods could not be used.
  • A member said he attended General Meetings on average once every two years and he would appreciate an e-voting system developed by the RIPE NCC.
  • A member said there was not perfect secrecy with the system used at the moment so why not use other ones that don’t have perfect voting.
  • A member suggested that a new system could not be as bad as the current system.
  • A member said he would like an end to proxy voting.
  • The Chair said there was no consensus on the issue.
  • A member asked for an open source solution so other people would get the benefit of improvements made.
  • Fahad said he did not like the current system and the Executive Board will investigate all options in greater depth. He said his personal preference was to increase the amount of voting methods available to members.

The Chair said the membership should decide on a system before the General Meeting May 2010 and he would ask Axel to further investigate the proposed voting systems.

10. RIPE NCC Executive Board Election
The RIPE NCC Executive Board election was chaired by Executive Board Chairman Nigel Titley. The Chair explained that the election was to fill the seat being vacated by Dmitry Burkov.

The two candidates, Dmitry Burkov and David Monosov, gave a brief presentation to attendees.

171 votes were cast with the following count:

  • Dmitry Burkov: 138
  • David Monosov: 32
  • Invalid ballots: 1

Dmitry was elected for another three-year term.

11. Close
The Chair closed the meeting at 20:09.

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