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RARE and RIPE - policy

  • To:
  • From: (Rob Blokzijl)
  • Date: Wed, 16 Sep 92 15:44:15 +0200
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  The following are my personal comments. The do not reflect an 'official'
  RIPE opinion.

  The comments are all aimed at matters of principle.
  Other types of comment are in a separate messages.

Rob Blokzijl

 * COA (92)080
 * T.Kalin
 * 24.8.92
 * 			RARE and RIPE / RIPE - NCC
 * 2.  RIPE and RIPE NCC
 * One can assume, with a high probability, the following scenario for the
 * near term development in networking in Europe: 
 *  + transition to the IXI Production Service (~Winter 92)
 *  + commencement of the 2 Mbps EMPB (~Winter 92/93)
 *  + establishment of the Operational Unit (~Spring 93)
 *  + EBONE managed by the OU (~Spring/Summer 93)
 *  + full operation of European 2 Mbps multiprotocol backbone - EMPB (~End 93)
 *  + execution starts of ECFRNnet initiative (Mid 93)
 *  + upgrade EMPB to higher speeds (~End 94 ?)

 That might well be the case indeed. But, as far as RIPE is concerned it
 makes the EMPB still only one of the growing number of providers of IP
 services in Europe.

 * It is the responsibility of RARE community on one side and  RIPE community,
 * particularly RIPE chairman, on the other side, not to miss this unique
 * opportunity to make an important step toward harmonisation of European
 * networking efforts. One has to appreciate that some of the boundary
 * conditions in provision of the above scenario are of political nature and
 * can not be modified without  danger for the whole exercise. In view of this
 * one should not start to dig new ditches, but to get all accessible IP
 * expertise to work on the solutions necessary to make the services of the
 * multiprotocol backbone available. Nobody can gain from endless discussions
 * on the merits of one or another technique.
 * Said that, it is easy to project the roles and the positions of RIPE in
 * RIPE NCC within a possible future scenario:
 * RIPE:
 *    RIPE should stay a technical IP coordinating body within RARE, but 
 * having much more interaction with the RARE management, technical and
 * executive bodies (CoA, RTC, REC, Raresec) than in the past
 *    according to its charter, RIPE should be serving wider population than
 * RARE membership
 *    one should observe gradual merger (or at least very close cooperation)
 * between identical or  related Working Groups of RARE and RIPE, leading to a
 * coordinated management of technical activities
 *    RIPE should  support establishment and utilisation of the EMPB,
 * particulary in the pilot phase, where the its expertise is crucially needed

 The above paragraphs can be read in such a way that they say basically:

    "it ain't broke, no need for fixing"

 If this is meant, i.e. no change in the present relationship between RARE
 and RIPE, that is fine. If they mean something differently, it should be
 stated more precisely and more clearly.

 Having said that, the following remarks can still be made:

    - a sort of special relationship, or responsibility, is implied between
      RIPE and one service provider: the EMPB. This can not be the case, RIPE
      feels the same responsibility towards all IP networks and service
      providers in Europe. See the RIPE terms of reference.

    - it is stated that RIPE should "support establishment and utilisation of
      the EMPB, particulary in the pilot phase, where the its expertise is
      crucially needed". 
      Now, this is again a statement that is difficult to understand:
	+ is RIPE supposed to work together with the EMPB in ironing out
	  technical issues regarding the interconnections of EMPB with the
	  current European Internet? Yes, of course. this is the main
	  activity of RIPE.
	+ is RIPE supposed to advertise and promote the use of EMPB? 
	  No, of course not: RIPE can never be pushed in the role of sales
	  office for any particular IP service provider. That would
	  immediately kill RIPE, causing a severe setback for Internet
	  networking in Europe.

 * One should seek to have the continuity of the services provided by NCC by
 * all means. To achieve this goal,  the best position of the NCC is in the
 * Operational Unit, the organisation managing the EMPB, subject to a
 * commitment by OU,  to offer adequate services, at the cost, also to
 * networking organisations which are not owners or customers of the OU. This
 * move should contribute to a better manageability of the EMPB. It  solves as
 * well  the problem of how to fund NCC, furthermore,  significant support
 * from CEC is very likely  in the starting period.
 * The awareness of the importance of computer networks for academic and
 * industrial research, has reached in Europe a point where one can hope for
 * substantial financial support for the establishment of a pan - European
 * multiprotocol network. In this vital period one must be able to consider
 * the real interests of the research community  as the first priority of all
 * concerned.

 Now we are talking real business, I am afraid :-)

 I can be short here: see the RIPE position paper.


   + what is the OU going to be:

     - sales and management organisation of the EMPB?
       In this case the RIPE NCC can never be related in any way to the OU.
       This would immediately break the confidence of all IP providers in the
       fairness, impartiality and neutral stand of the RIPE NCC. The
       consequences of this are extremely severe.

     - a department of RARE where special projects of RARE are administrated?
       No links with EMPB (or any other service provider for that matter)?
       There are possibilities there, but I haven't heard that one as far as
       the OU is concerned.

   + I would like to remind some history of the establishment of the RIPE NCC:
     - after lengthy discussions RIPE decided that they would request RARE to
       provide the legal and administrative environment to run the RIPE NCC.
     - this was done on the understanding that RARE could guarantee a
       sufficient degree of impartiality, fairness and neutrality for the
       RIPE NCC to operate in an acceptable way; acceptable to the whole
       European IP community.
       The first months of operation of the RIPE NCC have shown that this is
       indeed the case.
     - it is my opinion that RARE can not decide unilaterally to sell the
       RIPE NCC to the OU, an organisation that is neither defined nor
       established at the moment.

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