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1. Welcome/Preliminaries

Kees Neggers, RIPE NCC Executive Board Chairman, opened the meeting at 18:08 local time and welcomed the attendees. The Chairman suggested that in future the General Meeting (GM) should start ten minutes after the end of the RIPE NCC Services Working Group, which always precedes the GM. This was agreed by acclamation. The Chairman then pointed out that people would need to register for the GM before the RIPE NCC Services Working Group.

A question was asked whether this would lead to variable starting times and if this might cause confusion over the starting time for people who only wanted to attend the GM. Axel Pawlik, Managing Director of the RIPE NCC, responded that this was possible but he pointed out that all GM attendees should attend the RIPE NCC Services WG because the Working Group and the GM are connected. The report from the RIPE NCC activities is in principle only presented in the RIPE NCC Services WG.

2. Financial and Administration Update

Jochem de Ruig, the RIPE NCC Chief Financial Officer, gave a presentation on the RIPE NCC financial status for the year to date 2007 and on the financial outlook for the full year 2007.

In the presentation Jochem mentioned that, after discussion with the RIPE NCC auditors, it may be possible that substantial costs spent on the development of new software will be entered on the balance sheet as an intangible fixed asset. This may have a material effect on the profit & loss and balance sheet at year end 2007.

A question was asked on what part of the software development costs were being entered as an asset on the balance sheet.

Jochem responded that this would mainly be consultancy costs spent on the development of software. For instance, in Q4 the RIPE NCC would be building the certification engine. The consultancy costs spent on this development can be entered as an asset. It was asked whether reserved blocks of IP addresses could be activated. Jochem answered that this would not be possible as Internet Resources (IP addresses) are financially not accounted for as assets.

It was then asked how this would impact on the financial outcome for 2007.

Jochem responded that it would lower the expenses between 100 kEUR and 200 kEUR. This is a rough estimate as it is still unclear what items can be entered as an asset.

It was asked whether the RIPE NCC was eligible for a research and development benefit (WBSO) from the Dutch tax authorities.

Jochem answered that since the RIPE NCC is not eligible for corporate income tax there cannot be an income tax reduction for Research & Development.

3. Report from the RIPE NCC

The report on the RIPE NCC's activities was presented during the RIPE NCC Services Working Group on Wednesday, 24 October 2007 from 16:00-17:30. There were no questions related to this report.

4. Report from the Executive Board

Kees Neggers, the RIPE NCC Executive Board Chairman, presented the report from the RIPE NCC Executive Board.

The Chairman asked Axel Pawlik when the text of the joint RIR exchange letter to ICANN would be ready. Axel responded that he hoped it would be ready in November 2007 as the RIRs now have a common position to present to ICANN. Dmitry Burkov, RIPE NCC Executive Board Member, noted that it was difficult to achieve consensus among the RIRs but he hoped that agreement would be reached sooner rather than later.

The Chairman mentioned that the Executive Board met with the management of the RIPE NCC so that they could discuss the strategic issues facing them. One of the main topics discussed was the depletion of IPv4 space. He added that, while it is not expected that this will have an impact on the workings of the RIPE NCC in the near future, it is a good idea to be prepared for any possible scenarios that may arise. The Chairman asked the members to give this matter due consideration and to contact the Board with any input they may have. It is the view of the Board that the core business of the RIPE NCC in relation to the IPv4/IPv6 issue should be to ensure the registration of addresses and to keep that register current. Even if new addresses emerge, it is in the interests of the Internet that they are registered correctly. The Chairman stressed that the RIPE community, and not the RIPE NCC, should be responsible for any new policy that may be developed in light of new address space.

The Chairman also extensively reported on the RIPE NCC Personnel Fund. He explained that the fund was needed when the RIPE NCC was initially incorporated as a legal entity to guarantee the RIPE NCC's continuity of operations by protecting staff financially. The Personnel Fund can only be used to pay six months' salary to permanent staff in the case of liquidation or bankruptcy. Not only is this a very unlikely event, it is also not fair that only a subset of the staff could benefit from the fund. He emphasised that the Board would like the RIPE NCC Management to behave as a socially responsible employer. The Board's recommendation is to bring the Personnel Fund's money to better use by dissolving the Fund and moving the money to the RIPE NCC reserves where it will become available for use by the RIPE NCC and would be of benefit to all RIPE NCC staff if needed. The Chairman explained that the Board wanted to give this explanation of the Personnel Fund in order to be completely transparent to members and also to RIPE NCC staff.

The Chairman concluded by outlining the Board's activities for the next six months.

5. RIPE NCC Treasury Report

János Zsakó, the RIPE NCC Executive Board Treasurer, presented a report on the RIPE NCC's treasury model and planning for the future.

A question was raised on why the RIPE NCC keeps its funds in only short-term deposits.

János replied that currently the difference between the short-term and long-term rates was less than 1%. He added that there was also no guarantee that money would not need to be made available, even in the short term.

The Chairman commented that in the past the interest return was even less than 1% and long term deposits were not very attractive. The current rate received by the RIPE NCC is more than 3% and they would certainly have a closer look now at the division between short and long term deposits. The Chairman agreed to look at the long-term deposit account option but stressed that he does not support the idea of gambling with the funds.

A question was asked whether it would be worth placing some of the surplus funds in different currencies to avoid exposure to fluctuation in the currency markets, as happened in the case of the US dollar recently.

Jochem responded that the RIPE NCC USD exposure mainly relates to the ICANN liability. It would only be worth considering hedging against exchange rate fluctuations if there was some clarity with ICANN and it was possible to predict when payments should be made.

The Chairman added that the Board's position was that it did not want to gamble through currency speculation.

6. Draft RIPE NCC Activity Plan 2008

The Draft RIPE NCC Activity Plan 2008 is now available. The Chairman noted that it would not be approved during this meeting but the Board will collect input and decide on a final version in its December 2007 meeting. It was commented that the community faces uncertain times in light of IPv4 depletion. The RIPE NCC should be prepared in terms of having public relations employees who are equipped to deal with this situation. It was suggested that this be included in both the Budget and the Activity Plan for next year.

A question was raised regarding the likelihood of a policy being formed to change the charging scheme so that PI assignments are separately charged for by the RIPE NCC and to change the contractual scheme so that there will be a contract with End Users.

The Chairman responded that the RIPE NCC Board was concerned not to overcomplicate matters. Having an agreement with End Users would require a different set-up between the RIPE NCC and its members and would introduce a disproportionate administrative overhead.

7. Draft RIPE NCC Budget 2008

The Draft RIPE NCC Budget 2008 has been made available. The Chairman noted that details of the Draft Budget were presented earlier in the meeting by the RIPE NCC's Chief Financial Officer, Jochem de Ruig. He added that it was now time to increase the budgeted costs to deal with the membership growth and issues arising from IPv4 depletion.

There were no further comments on the draft budget. In December 2007, the Executive Board will meet to approve the RIPE NCC Budget 2008.

8. RIPE NCC Charging Scheme 2008

Jochem de Ruig presented the proposal for the RIPE NCC Charging Scheme 2007.

It was asked whether the Board had considered intensifying the uptake of IPv6 by giving a rebate to members that corresponded to allocation and usage of IPv6 address space, whether this is something the community at large would consider useful for a period of time and whether this could possibly stimulate deployment of IPv6?

The Chairman responded that the stimulation of IPv6 is a policy issue. For next year the Board proposed that the same scoring system would be used. This issue is something that could be considered next year and the best way to prepare for this is to have discussions in either the RIPE NCC Services Working Group or the GM in May 2008 so preparation can be made for a proposal in the autumn GM in 2008. He added that if there are concrete ideas to use the Charging Scheme as a policy instrument, it should be debated and analysed among the membership.

It was asked why in the presentation there are no changes being made to the boundaries in the charging model when the Charging Scheme document shows that there will be a much smaller percentage of extra small LIRs and some other changes.

Jochem answered that this was because the presentation showed the figures at the current time. All new members are classified as extra small so the current figures will have a larger percentage of extra small members. After the Charging Scheme is approved, the boundaries are aligned to 20%, 55%, 20%, 4% and 1% (Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large, respectively).

As suggested by the Chairman, the members voted on the Charging Scheme by a show of hands.

The formal resolution: "The General Meeting adopts the RIPE NCC Charging Scheme 2008" was unanimously accepted with no abstentions.

The Chairman said that there seemed to be interest in discussing the principles of the Charging Scheme so he suggested that this be placed on the agenda for the RIPE NCC Services Working Group and the GM at the RIPE 56 Meeting.

There was a comment suggesting that, at either the RIPE NCC Services Working Group or the GM during the RIPE 56 Meeting, there should also be room on the agenda to discuss what the new PI contracts could look like and what, for example, the impact of this could be on voting rights and how it would develop on an administrative basis.

The Chairman responded that it seemed that certain policies could have substantial implications for the RIPE NCC so it is important that the RIPE Policy Development Process be carried out in the correct manner.

There was a final question regarding the reasons behind the very high level of new members and whether there was any indication that there may be some abuse of the system, such as hoarding of address space.

The Chairman responded that there was no evidence to suggest that this is the case.

9. Close

The Chairman thanked the attendees for their participation.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 19:23.