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List of Arbiters

This list consists of the names of all arbiters appointed by the RIPE NCC Executive Board. Their appointments were approved by the RIPE NCC membership at the RIPE NCC General Meetings in 2001, 2008, 2010 and 2018.

Photo Arbiters

RIPE NCC Arbiters from left: Ondrej Surý, Keith Mitchell, Kurt Kayser (resigned), James Hickman, Jaap Akkerhuis
(Not pictured: Alireza Ghafarallahi, David Freedman, Miquel Illa, Timothy Mahoney, Thomas Okalla, Payam Poursaied, Sander Steffann)

The arbiter named at the top of the list will be designated to undertake the next request for arbitration, unless the parties involved in arbitration have a preference for any other arbiter.


Ondřej Surý

Country of residence: Czech Republic
Organisation or employer: Internet Systems Consortium, Inc.
Working languages: Czech, English

Contact details


Ondřej Surý (1977) is the Director of DNS Engineering at ISC. He moved to ISC from CZ.NIC where, as a Technical Fellow, he was responsible for all things DNS – from the signing .CZ top-level domain to founding and leading the Knot DNS and Knot Resolver projects. Ondřej is heavily involved in the DNS and Internet community – at ICANN, he is one of the seven Recovery Key Share Holders for Root Zone DNSSEC Keys, a member of The Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel (RSTEP) and a member of Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC). He has also been a co-chair of the IETF DANE Working Group, and he is actively participating in the development of new DNS enhancements in the IETF DNSOP Working Group.

Ondřej is free software enthusiast. As a Debian Developer, he has maintained several Debian packages since 2000 – PHP, MariaDB, Berkeley DB, libjpeg-turbo to name a few and he has also contributed to various open source projects throughout his career.

Ondřej studied Computer Science at Charles University in Prague and obtained Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Sociology from Masaryk University in Brno.

Miquel Illa

Country of residence: Spain
Organisation or employer: M.F. Winfor SLU
Working languages: Spanish, English, French, Italian

Contact details


Miquel Illa (1973) is the Director of Winfor SL. He was trained as Engineer at Sarria University in Barcelona and did an MBA at Esade University, also in Barcelona.

Miquel started programming in university and became a software developer and IT expert in the late 90's. Having been heavily involved in the Hosting and Internet community over the past twenty years, taking on the role of IT manager for several multinationals in that time, he funded his own startup in 2007. That organisation has evolved from basic hosting, to general hosting and virtualisation, and has now become a leading hosting and IT services provider to local SME companies in Barcelona.

Miquel is an Internet enthusiast, always looking for better ways to operate and improve communications. He is currently working on developing insights in IoT and 5G.

Timothy Mahoney

Country of residence: Sweden
Organisation or employer: Securelink Sweden AB
Working languages: English and Swedish

Contact details


Timothy Mahoney (1976) was born in Michigan, USA, and currently lives in Sweden. He holds both American and Swedish citizenship. He has worked in Networking and Security for the past 18 years, having started working in Telecommunications as a Satellite Technician for Quantum Networks, LCC, in 2001. In 2003, he became Operations Manager of Constellation Networks Inc’s satellite teleport in Malmö, Sweden. 

Since 2017, Timothy has been working in IT Security. Currently he works as a Security Consultant for Securelink Sweden AB.

Thomas Okalla

Country of residence: France
Organisation or employer: Waatele
Working languages: French, English

Contact details


Thomas Okalla (1959) studied Mathematics and Numerical Analysis at the University of Paris VI, then Aeronautics at ISAE SupAero Toulouse before working in engineering roles within the robotics industry. These roles include designing and managing NDT projects for the CEA, the French nuclear research organisation.

In 1995, he founded Africances, an Internet Service Provider specialised in running POPs and providing Internet access in France and Africa. Its activities also include services of turnkey delivering of POPs infrastructures for ISPs.

In 2006, Thomas joined the Airbus NOC team in Toulouse as WAN Support Engineer. In this position, he was responsible for running projects related to the worldwide Airbus Network and dealing with escalated network incidents. Thomas also became a certified Cisco CCNP Engineer in 2008.

In 2010, he was given responsibility for running the infrastructure of the entire network backbone of Flow Line, and MPLS, Internet and Cloud services provider in a context of a merger of two companies. During this period, the company became an LIR, has been granted its own IP address blocks and ran extensive IP address migration and finally became member of several IXPs.

Since 2018, his current role is as Senior Network Architect for Limagrain: a worldwide food research company with hundreds of sites around the world. He is currently working on SD-WAN projects.

Payam Poursaied

Country of residence: Canada
Organisation or employer: Shatel ICT Group
Working languages: Persian, English

Contact details


Payam Poursaied holds a Master of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering and a dual-major bachelor’s degree in Computer and Industrial Engineering from Sharif University of Technology, the most reputable Engineering school in Iran. Studying two majors simultaneously is a privilege granted to the top three students in each department, and Payam was one of those selected.

Payam is Chief Quality officer of Shatel, the largest privately-held ISP in Iran with more than 1.2M subscribers and over 2,500 employees. He also serves in the capacity of Senior Technical Advisor to the Board of Directors. 

Payam started his IT Carrier back in 1999 as a Perl programmer. Given his hands-on network operations experience, the university assigned him as a Computer Site (lab) supervisor.

In 2002, Payam joined Shatel group as Technical Manager when Shatel was just a small startup ISP of no more than ten employees offering innovative converged dialup and VoIP access. Since then he has served in critical technical and managerial roles. 

Skills and Qualifications: 

  • Linux lover, trainer, and holder of RHCE
  • Network enthusiastic 
  • MikroTik Certified Trainer
  • Hands-on Perl and PHP programming + SQL
  • Sharp problem solver
  • Auditor of Quality Management System ISO 9001
  • Experience in Organisational Excellency models
  • Experience in adopting and adapting ITIL

Jaap Akkerhuis

Country of residence: The Netherlands
Organisation or employer: NLnet Labs
Working languages: Dutch, English, Some Russian, German and French

Contact details


Jaap Akkerhuis (1951) was instrumental in the development of what is now known as the Internet in the early eighties (last century) at the Mathematical Centre (current name: Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica). In 1987 he moved to the US to join the Information Technology Centre at the CMU (Pittsburgh, PA), followed by another two years at Mt. Xinu (Berkeley, CA.) and three years at Bell Laboratories (Murray Hill, NJ). In 1995 he returned to the Netherlands to join NLnet, the first Dutch ISP. In 1999 he joined the Dutch registry (SIDN). In 2004 he left this for his current job at NLnet Labs.

He is a long-time participant in RIPE Meetings and functions as a co-chair of the DNS Working Group. As a participant in IETF meetings, he was co-chair of the PROVREG Working Group. In some of his other functions, he has been part of ICANN and CENTR committees and is currently a member of the ICANN Security and Scalability Advisory Committee. He was also member of the Permanent Stakeholders Group of ENISA and act as an occasional instructor for ISOC courses for TLD registries.

Sander Steffann

Country of residence: The Netherlands
Organisation or employer: Self-employed, board member of Stichting IPv6 Nederland and Stichting Global NOG Alliance
Working languages: Dutch, English

Contact details


Sander is a network architect/engineer/trainer/consultant/etc. who specialises in IPv6. He has been active in the Internet industry since 1995 and became a self-employed consultant in 2010. Being a RIPE Address Policy Working Group co-chair for 11 and a half years has helped him get involved in many different projects, from service providers to enterprise to open source. He is one of the founders of the Global NOG Alliance, a foundation for helping network operator groups around the world.

David Freedman

Country of residence: UK
Organisation or employer: Claranet
Working languages: English (Spoken and Written)

Contact details


David Freedman (1981) has worked in network engineering for the past 14 years and is currently employed as Group Network Engineering Manager for Claranet, a pan-European Managed Services Provider (MSP) that was established in 1996.

During much of this time, David has been a regular participant at RIPE Meetings and in RIPE Working Group discussions, focusing in recent years on address policy and the deployment and operation of IPv6.

David also participates in the IETF IDR working group and is the co-author of a number of documents relating to BGP4 and IPv6.

David can be found travelling the world attending industry conferences, speaking about IPv6 deployment and its challenges.

James Hickman

Country of residence: UK
Organisation or employer: Virtual1 Ltd
Working languages: English

Contact details


James Hickman (1972) studied Computing and Informatics at the University of Plymouth before working in various IT roles within the Rail industry. These roles include running transformational projects to deliver multi-million pound HR and Finance systems, though he most fondly remembers trying to get hundreds of shiny new ticket machines and passenger information systems to work within a few feet of 25kV overhead power lines.

In 2000, he joined a mobile internet start-up called OmniSky, running the infrastructure for the European offices and being part of the team to design and build PoPs to provide the service over GPRS.

In 2001, James joined PSINet as a Senior Pre-Sales Consultant. He took over running the team shortly afterwards and built it into a respected part of the business. Under his leadership, many technical functions were drawn into the team. This included responsibility for support and administration, RIPE NCC resource applications and providing advice to customers and partners wishing to become LIRs in their own right. In 2004, Telstra acquired PSINet UK and James was asked to run the combined Pre-Sales Team.

In 2008, he was invited to run a newly-formed complex customer design function and was given responsibility for the architecture of the entire UK network backbone during a challenging time of consolidation and integration of a new data centre.

His current role is as CTO of an international wholesale network aggregator.

James is accredited by British Computer Society (MBCS CITP) and the Engineering Council (CEng).

Keith Mitchell

Country of residence: USA
Organisation or employer: SMOTI Enterprises Inc.
Working languages: English

Contact details


In 2012, Keith set up his own company, SMOTI Enterprises Inc., which contracts and contributes his leadership services to a number of Internet engineering nonprofits, including DNS-OARC and UKNOF. Keith also serves as a board member of Open-IX, and on the Advisory Board of IIX Peering.

From 2008 until 2012, he served as Vice President of Systems Engineering at the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), where he had responsibility for ISC's infrastructure and open-source software development. This included operation of ISC's F-root, DNS and public benefit hosting network infrastructure. Prior to this at ISC, he managed the OARC programme for DNS operators, returning in 2012 to serve as President of the now-autonomous nonprofit OARC Inc.

Before moving to the US, Keith conceived the UK Network Operators' Forum (UKNOF) in 2005, and has been leading this for its past thirty successful meetings. He has previously been involved in Internet engineering and governance for some 25 years, founding the London Internet Exchange (LINX) in 1994 where he was Executive Chairman until starting up XchangePoint in 2000. He has served as a non-executive Director of Nominet UK, Chairman of the RIPE NCC Executive Board and co-founded the UK's first Internet startup, PIPEX in 1992.

Alireza Ghafarallahi

Country of residence: Iran
Organisation or employer: Telecommunication Infrastructure Company (TIC) of Iran:
Working languages: Farsi, English

Contact details


Alireza Ghafarallahi was born (1974) and raised in Iran. He was trained as a Telecommunications Engineer. He started programming in university and became a firmware programmer for telecommunications devices.

He started working for TIC (the main ISP in Iran) in 1998 as an expert. He attended the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Network Professional classes.

He worked for many ISPs and ISDP companies in Iran as Network Designer and IP Master. In 2006, his company became a member of the RIPE NCC, He attained an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from Sharif University. He is an IP and VoIP expert and plans to become a Cisco Certified Network Expert.

He is a CCNA trainer and adviser for ISPs and ISDPs in Iran for IP and VoIP.