Date: 28 - 30 July 2004
Location: Norfolk Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya
1. Opening & Welcome - Axel Pawlik, RIPE NCC
2. International Management of Internet Resources - Rob Blokzijl, RIPE
3. What is RIPE? - Rob Blokzijl, RIPE
4. What is RIPE NCC? - Axel Pawlik, RIPE NCC
5. RIPE NCC Services - Axel Pawlik, RIPE NCC
6. RIPE NCC Registration Services Update – Timothy Lowe, RIPE NCC
7. Training Services Update – Arno Meulenkamp, RIPE NCC
8. AfriNIC – The Emerging RIR – Adiel Akplogan, AfriNIC
9. IPv4 Address Lifetime Expectancy - Axel Pawlik, RIPE NCC
10. IPv6 Update – Leo Vegoda, RIPE NCC
11. Close of Wednesday Session
12. Peering and Exchange Points – Bill Woodcock, PCH
13. K-root Nameserver Operations - Andrei Robachevsky, RIPE NCC
14. A Quick Look at AfriNIC – Brian Longwe, AfriNIC
15. Domain Management – An Introduction to CENTR – Giovanni Seppia, CENTR
16. High Costs of IP Bandwidth in Africa – Richard Bell, London Business School
17. Close of Thursday Session
Wednesday 28 July
Meeting began at 9:16 AM
Question: You talked about Internet resources and I was wondering why the physical Internet Network itself is not classed as a resource?
Rob - Without a physical layer there is no Internet. Today the cables and routers themselves are owned by the Industry, it’s a market. This market has been running for 30 years and the competition is healthy enough so that in most parts of the world we do not need an organisation to ensure this infrastructure is in place. I do know that in some countries there is no competition due to national law but there is nothing that we can do about this.
Comment: In developed countries this is very different than in developing countries and this is inhibiting the development of the Internet in developing countries.
Rob - Six months ago we had a meeting in Moscow where there was a very interesting presentation from Azerbaijan comparing the country with developed nations. After some discussion it appeared the speaker was from the only telecom company in the country and they were in charge of setting the tariffs so why was he complaining? Sometimes the national part is not handled in the most efficient way, with non-open competition and this affects the international problems.
Comment: There are also problems at the international level. Developing countries are paying for the full Internet set-up. Developed countries are sending their traffic through developing countries free of charge.
Rob – Yes I agree this is a serious problem. In this case I believe governments should come together and try to solve this problem. They do not need to worry about IPv4 address space and instead should focus on these kinds of problems that they can solve.
Ray Plzak, ARIN – There are both technical aspects and political aspects involved and we all need to understand the distinction, including which organisations should be involved in technical aspects and which should be involved in the political aspects. The organisations working with the technical aspects are doing well and do not need changing.
Rob – 15 years ago we had the same problems in Western Europe. One of the solutions from de-regulation of the telecom industry was that these high international tariffs disappeared. Open markets solve these problems.
Question: I believed there was no organisation that could run without money but you have successfully convinced us that this can be done. I am very surprised with this. Can you explain further how it works?
Rob – Well RIPE is not an organisation so we do not have money but we do have costs. Firstly, the RIPE Meetings. In principle the meeting fee mainly pays for these. We also have administration support from the RIPE NCC, i.e. our website etc. The members of the RIPE NCC pay this. It is the choice of the paying membership of the RIPE NCC to want to continue paying for this. The RIPE NCC will explain this further after the coffee break. It is in the interests of the RIPE NCC members to have this open environment through RIPE.
Question: Can you confirm that RIPE is an organ of the RIPE NCC?
Rob – No, it’s the other way around. RIPE was formed in 1989 and the RIPE NCC was formed three years later. The RIPE NCC was formed because the voluntary work within RIPE needed some secretariat assistance. At this point we did not think about address allocations, this came later. The RIPE NCC could not exist without RIPE for the policy making process and RIPE also could not exist without the RIPE NCC.
Question: The process looks as if we are moving from a global structure to more regionalised structures, for example with AfriNIC. How do you see this progressing as numbers increase?
Rob – There is no grand / secret plan behind creating RIRs. The five registries (including AfriNIC) have been formed because in the specific regions there was seen a need for it. It was all within one organisation originally but this was not seen to work. An organisation in the U.S. was not able to cater to the whole world, due to cultural differences, language, time zones etc.
However, caution is applied. Handing out IPv4 address space must be done with control otherwise the routing tables will break. This aggregation needs co-ordination. A balance is needed and I think five is a good number, possibly there will be more but not a huge number, maybe six but certainly not 60.
We cannot go down to country registries, many ISPs already work across many countries and therefore they said it would not work. In APNIC they have NIRs as some countries wanted this, however it is not mandatory in those countries, they can deal with APNIC if they prefer. The NIRs mean that local languages and time zones are used. It depends what the communities want for their own RIR.
Question: I would like to know what the relationship now with IANA and the RIRs is and whether we still need to have IANA?
Rob – As far as address space is concerned you have never dealt with IANA and have dealt only with the RIPE NCC. Once AfriNIC is set up you will deal with AfriNIC and they will deal with IANA. However this is not very often, AfriNIC will probably only need to talk to IANA twice a year for more address space. As far as the rules are concerned, there is a document detailing this. Basically the RIRs go to IANA for address space and IANA cannot refuse this. IANA are mainly used for book keeping purposes, to keep track of the numbers, there are not much politics involved.
Question: If an ISP in Europe provides services to an organisation in Tanzania, how is the address space taken from the global pool?
Axel – From subscribing through a European ISP, address space would be coming from us at the RIPE NCC.
Question: You mentioned ENUM but did not give further explanations, could you give us some more details on this?
Axel – We are delegating the country code numbers to a national operator. There are three parties involved in ENUM. The IAB who make policy regulations. The RIPE NCC, we take applications for ENUM from all over the world. The ITU then determines who should be regulating this within countries.
Ray Plzak, ARIN – We should just emphasise when talking about the NRO that Adiel Akplogan from AfriNIC is an observer on the NRO Executive Council (EC).
Question: There are two bodies present in Africa, the RIPE NCC and ARIN. Now there is also AfriNIC. Why would I join one and not the other?
Axel – APNIC also runs in Mauritius. Why should you join AfriNIC? The idea is that they will be able to provide better services for your region. We are not aware of your regional issues. Some of our policies are hard to apply in Africa, for example members have to be large to obtain an initial allocation from us. It is important to have policies that apply to African members. Also, it will be easier and cheaper for you to contact AfriNIC by phone. Finally, we have also heard from African members that many people here no longer want to have to go to the U.S. or Europe when they want address space.
Rob – It should be emphasised that African members chose to create AfriNIC, we did not make this decision on your behalf. Transition is always difficult, especially for ISPs that are well-established members but both ARIN and the RIPE NCC will help you with this and will also assist AfriNIC.
Question: Why is South Africa not included in your statistics?
Timothy – South Africa is covered by ARIN’s service region. Africa is divided in half along the equator and the RIPE NCC region covers countries north of the equator. These statistics only cover our service region. A presentation will be given later showing joint statistics.
Question: We are currently a member of ARIN. We would like to be a member of both ARIN and the RIPE NCC, what are the conditions to be able to do this?
Timothy – This would be a duplication of resources and you would have to pay a membership fee twice for no extra benefits. AfriNIC is being created so that you do not need to do this, your whole continent will be covered by one RIR.
Rob – There is of course some history to this split, originally ISPs could choose which RIR they wanted to work with. I imagine that with the growth of Africa you may have ISPs that now deal with customers on both sides of the equator. Address space from either RIR will work on both sides of the equator. Address space is globally unique, so there is really no need to join ARIN and the RIPE NCC.
Question: What about membership fees, how do they compare between the two RIRs? Possibly financially it would benefit us to move?
Rob – I do not have the figures here in front of me but I don’t believe there is a huge difference. However, with AfriNIC you will all get to decide on the future fees.
No questions were asked.
Question: You have not supplied the names of your members.
Adiel - In the constitution you can find a general assembly of our members. The public meeting was a member and non-member meeting.
Question: What is the annual budget for AfriNIC?
Adiel – The budget for AfriNIC is difficult to explain, we actually have two budgets. We have an operational budget for operational matters that is paid by the South African Government. The second budget is for the running of AfriNIC and this is in Mauritius, it is currently 150,000 US Dollars but this will definitely increase. It will change after AfriNIC becomes a recognised RIR and we begin giving services to LIRs. This is all addressed in the AfriNIC business plan covering the next five years.
Question: You have an MoU with the RIPE NCC but not one with the other RIRs. What is the status with this?
Adiel – The first MoU was signed with the RIPE NCC for training. We wanted to train AfriNIC staff at the RIPE NCC and this first MoU was only for this purpose. The second MoU is signed with the NRO that covers all the RIRs and this agrees to fund AfriNIC.
Comment: I have another comment about the budget. You have an incubation period for two years and as I understand it after this time members will be covering your full budget. At this time you may find that you do not have enough money collected from the members to fund AfriNIC.
Adiel – This is also addressed in our business plan. Those two years are indeed to ensure enough funds are collected so that we can fund ourselves in the third year. In the third year we will be spending more money and will not have as much surplus so indeed the first two years will be spent securing enough money for this.
Ray Plzak, ARIN – It is important to emphasise the letters of support AfriNIC has already received. However, true support will need to come from an active community and you do not need to be a member of AfriNIC to do this. Support from the community is very important. The members who sign up will have to be involved in budgeting matters but the whole community needs to be involved in address policies. The RIRs have all expressed our support through the NRO, it is now up to the community in Africa to make AfriNIC work.
Question: How have you advertised yourself to other countries outside South Africa and how have you tried to reach ISPs?
Adiel – This is a difficult job in Africa and we are trying to cover all the countries in our region. We are attending various meetings in Africa to meet people from governments and ISPs. You can also help us by telling people within your own countries and governments. We are putting all of our efforts into reaching everyone. The letters of support show that we have already reached a significant number of countries but we are happy for any help that you can offer us to reach more people.
Comment: You should not rely too much on meetings for your outreach. You also need to identify key people within specific countries and ask them to spread the word within their own regions for you. There is currently not enough awareness.
Adiel – Yes, I think this issue will come up more and more and I agree that more still needs to be done. At this point we have a lot of work to do and we have some events coming up in the coming months. These events are different to this meeting here and we try to attend as many as possible – of course we are only three staff members so we do need your help.
Comment: AfriNIC is just starting up and we all need to encourage this. AfriNIC cannot be in every country in Africa however we, the LIRs, are in every country. It is important for us to generate more members on their behalf.
Question: Why are you located in South Africa for your operations?
Adiel – We asked for proposals last year for the location of our operations office. The people who made proposals were then asked to talk together and discuss the issues. They made the decision to split the operations over different countries. If you had to choose a location considering Internet Exchange Points you would choose Johannesburg and Cairo as these are the only two Exchange Points that have the fibre to supply latency.
Question: Do you have a more detailed transition plan? I have lots of considerations to make if I move from the RIPE NCC such as address space, database objects etc.
Adiel – A detailed transition plan is available on our website although the latest version is not online yet but will be shortly. We will indeed be taking into consideration all of the implications for an LIR to move RIRs.
Question: How do you plan to implement the transition plan? Will the RIPE NCC move current members to AfriNIC or is AfriNIC just for new members?
Axel – Later this year we will ask all of our members to re-sign contracts with the RIPE NCC due to an internal change, this includes our African members. We will include a letter for our African members asking them to also join into a contract with AfriNIC at the same time. Once AfriNIC is instated as an RIR our African members will then move to AfriNIC.
Ray Plzak, ARIN – We will also be doing something similar at ARIN. We have done this before when LACNIC became a new RIR.
Question: Can you discuss this contract? The minimum allocation policy has recently changed will other policies also change?
Adiel – The contract is already online for you to view, it describes only the administrative relationship and does not include policy matters. With regard to policy matters, information about AfriNIC policies is also online and if you have any opinions regarding any of our policies you can freely comment on these already.
Question: Are the members of AfriNIC ISPs or LIRs? I am not clear on the difference between the two.
Adiel – An ISP that receives allocations becomes an LIR, a member of an RIR. AfriNIC members are mostly comprised of ISPs that have become LIRs, however you can also become a member even if you are not an ISP. For example, in our charging fees you can see that we also have End User members and Membership Only/Founding members. AfriNIC is open to anyone who wants to become a member. The process is online and you can already complete the form to become a member (LIR). Founding Members will become normal members after AfriNIC receives recognition as an RIR.
Question: Are contributions required to become a member of AfriNIC now?
Adiel – Contribute as much as you can.
Leo Vegoda, RIPE NCC – We are often asked this question at training courses, the answer is that anyone can be a member. If you can sign the contract and pay the fee then you are a member of the RIR.
Rob –You do not have to be a member of an RIR to contribute to policies.
Ray Plzak, ARIN – At ARIN you can also become a member just by paying the membership fee. This gives members the opportunity to vote for Board Members etc.
Comment: As much as we would want to support AfriNIC, in terms of charging this should not have huge differences with the current RIRs. AfriNIC also needs to become well known, you could try asking for a volunteer in each country to do outreach for you.
Adiel – That is a very good suggestion. We will see if we can achieve this and we will stay in touch with you all after this meeting has finished.
Comment: Now is a good opportunity to volunteer to do this outreach work for AfriNIC. Some people possibly think that this is a closed organisation and we should all volunteer to spread the word.
Comment: I think that you should plan to have a certain number of members at the end of the incubation period. You should now focus on how to recruit as many members as possible.
Paul Rendek, RIPE NCC – Please post some of these comments onto the AfriNIC mailing list, that way you can open the discussion to an even larger group of people.
Question: What does BGP stand for?
Axel - Border Gateway Protocol. This is used to propagate the routing information. If you receive address space your engineers would use BGP to inform others of the address space range.
Question: You said you have to do routing on a single prefix, what if you are multi-homing?
Leo – If you have one allocation and are multi-homing you can send the same announcement to both ISPs and therefore only use a single prefix. Some organisations have stated that they want to use different prefixes for different types of customers etc. Currently the policy states that we can only allocate one prefix and that this has to be announced as one prefix.
Question: Regarding the privacy concern. Won’t we have a situation in ten years time where we will see that we are more visible on the Internet, especially when connecting via Ethernet? Won’t this lead to advertising for spammers?
Leo - Often an Ethernet address is used to form the second half of the IP address and there are some privacy concerns. My understanding is that there is a draft detailing a way to make the interface part of the IP address change with each packet that would solve at least part of the privacy concern. As an RIR we are concerned because it has a direct effect on both the operations of our members and also on our members customers so if we get it wrong we will have problems. Therefore we need lots of input on this subject to formulate a more concise policy addressing this.
Comment: I agree that more discussion is needed on this subject.
Rob – On the issue of announcing one prefix. If you look at the IPv4 routing table currently, more than 50% of announcements are not needed. This pollution of the routing table is due to people receiving one chunk of address space but then announcing many small chunks, we need to learn from that experience.
Comment: We know that IPv4 was changed from classful to classless addressing to allow for conservation. I wonder if we should now go back to this classful situation as we now have so many IP addresses?
Leo – If there were strong support from the communities for this then the RIRs would do this, however I’ve not seen the support for this. The problem with classful addressing is that if an organisation needed only a few thousand IPs they would actually be given tens of thousands (/16) and this is an enormous waste.
Ray – So much of the address space used up in IPv4 was when classful address space was used. If you compare that to the space allocated by the RIRs through the classless way you can see that it is much better managed. Also this is something the IETF would want to be involved with as it would affect the routing tables.
Q & A and Discussion
The floor was opened to questions.
Question: I would like more information about the k-root anycast servers.
Axel – We have a session tomorrow morning with Andrei Robachevsky, RIPE NCC that will cover this subject further. The history is that originally all the root servers were in the U.S. and therefore we were asked to have one in Europe. Since this we have heard complaints that the U.S. controls the root server system, this is not the case. Andrei will discuss how we are deploying more servers and what the RIPE NCC’s involvement is.
Question: Could we have further information about the ENUM implementation and process that the RIPE NCC is involved in?
Axel – We simply function as the top-level tier 0 registry and that is all that we are doing. Many countries have advanced testbeds running and I believe Austria will soon go commercial with this. More information can be found on our website including a list of delegations that we have made and links to these testbeds.
Rob – Interest in ENUM is growing and we have now created a new working group, the ENUM Working Group. The first session will be at the next meeting in Manchester. There is also a web page for this working group and a mailing list to be found on the RIPE website.
Axel closed the first day of the meeting, thanking the presenters and sponsors.
The meeting concluded at 17:20.
Thursday, 29 July 2004
Meeting began at 9:08 AM
Question: You stated that local ISPs should be encouraged to host locally. However, as an example, newspapers are hosted in the U.S. because if they are hosted locally and their connection goes down what to they do?
Bill – If they are hosted locally and the connection goes down, what would be more problematic? Being hosted in the U.S. or having content at the exchange here? If they have content on the exchange here and their connection goes down the consumers can still reach the content, but if the connection in the U.S. goes down the content cannot be reached.
Comment: But most of our consumers are not local, local consumers buy the newspaper and those that read the online paper are outside the country.
Bill – This is partly because the people outside the country are getting a better performance than those locally because they have to sit and wait for the pages to load slowly. The newspaper could easily host the same content in the U.S. and locally and then both groups of people get a better performance. You could get a cache of web content at the exchange here.
Question: Why does the fibre only go to Johannesburg?
Bill – The fibre goes down the west coast and is connected in South Africa and then it carries on to Asia. The cable lands in many different West African countries but the problem is that there are not any accessible Exchange Points in any of these West African countries.
At the time the fibre was built some countries did not have enough money or insight to try to get the landing points and doing that now is incredibly expensive. Once the cable is built it is very difficult to add landing points. It is also hard because of the monopoly, somebody who has a monopoly does not want to give that up and share with competitors.
Mauritius has a fibre but they are unable to use it because the Mauritius government sold it to France Telecom and they do not have an interest to use this for the Mauritius people.
The way around this would be to invest in fibre to go up the east coast of Africa.
Currently there is no back up for the fibre on the west coast. If the fibre breaks they have to hire a ship etc and would probably have more than a week of downtime. South Africa and Nigeria would be offline for a week because they have a very small satellite capacity. What they need to do is create a ring so that this doesn’t happen. If you run fibre up the east coast of Africa you have the potential to create a ring. You can then trade with those who own the west coast fibre. You need to break the monopoly on landings on the west coast.
Question: We know that with Internet Exchange Points we could get an advantage of service and also pricing. Can you explain how this pricing is done in Africa?
Bill – The way an exchange works is either peering, where no charges are made to each other and there is no transit. Or you charge to supply transit to others. The first thing to do here is to set up peering so that you have this at no cost. Once the fibre is around Africa you can have transit covering the whole of Africa. I have high hopes for MTN to set up this fibre and break this monopoly, which would be a great starting point.
Question: Can you give any examples of anyone using peer caching to enhance their quality of service in Africa?
Bill - Web cache and cache peering between participants of an exchange. Many of you have web caches where customers go to a web page and the page is stored for their next visit. If the customer needs a different page the cache doesn’t work. If you make the cache available to your competitors you can then set it up so that caches speak to each other. If you don’t have the page in the cache you ask your competitor if they have it and then pass that on to the customer. This is all about gaining from sharing; you both save money and you both supply a better level of service.
Comment: To let you know regarding the fibre cabling. I think Sudatel in Sudan have done a great job with cabling and there is now a cable through the red sea to Saudi Arabia. They also have a fibre optic cable to Egypt. They are now waiting for permission from the Chad government to go through there and come through to Cameroon. They are also planning in the coming years to go through to Kenya. We have about 700 miles of fibre cabling in Sudan.
Bill – This is great news, I am very curious to see how accessible this fibre is and what the pricing for this will be. It would be a waste to price this too high so that customers can’t reach this. I don’t know if they have and will have to find this out.
No questions were asked.
Question: What is the basis that you have used to set certain seats as two years or three years and so on?
Adiel – It’s a very simple but complicated process! To determine the term of the seats we used the number of members per region. The constitution says that the board are elected for three years but to allow a rotation of the board selection we had to set different years so that they are moving round. This is only for this first time. Therefore every year we will have an election for two seats that will last three years.
Comment: I would like to comment on the activities that you are forecasting. I understand that after the incubation period AfriNIC members will do the funding of all these activities. As far as I can see the only source of funding is from members. You need to address this situation by calculating how many members you will have at the end of this incubation time and how much you can charge them, otherwise you may have problems. How many members are you expecting at the end of the incubation period and will they be in a position to pay for your activities? My advice is to look at this carefully to ensure the continuation of AfriNIC.
Brian – Thank you for your input. AfriNIC does have a business plan where we have taken this into consideration to ensure that we have sustainability.
Question: I think that the ISPs have been patient for a long time. Do you have a date for when African LIRs can ask AfriNIC for address space as opposed to the RIPE NCC?
Brian – AfriNIC will actively start processing applications for resources on September 1st.
Adiel – Yes, co-evaluation will start on September 1st. However this does not mean we will start allocating resources independently. We plan to start working independently in January 2005 after we receive provisional recognition from ICANN.
Brian – So co-evaluation will be processing requests with the RIPE NCC and then we hope for status as an RIR in January.
Question: I am curious about your interpretation of the Internet community in a country. TLD managers are supposed to represent the community of a country, do you organise this through some sort of NGO activity or governments or something else? Also can you give an example of an Internet community in Africa that is accepted as a member in CENTR?
Giovanni – Regarding membership CENTR is born as an organisation of registries, this is the clear definition in our article of association. We would like the registries to gather information from the local internet community and it is their responsibility to obtain this. It is true that the registries do not always represent the whole Internet community but there are ways for the registry to get along with the Internet community to understand what the community would like developed in that country.
In Africa we have Libya as a member but we are having communication problems with this registry so this is being re-considered. I believe at the next GM there will be a vote to decide if .ly will remain as a member. We have no strict boundaries and although we are described as a European company we have members covering five continents that are happy to share information and best practices.
Question: Please give an example of what type of company can be registered and what the procedures are for you to accept an organisation as a registry?
Giovanni – Registries are those registered in the IANA database and recognised by IANA. If there is a procedure of re-delegation we wait for approval from IANA first before they are accepted as one of our members. If they have not been approved by IANA we do not accept them as a registry.
Question: My question is directed towards your external relations. Here in Africa there are many countries that have outstanding issues with their ccTLDs. Most of them are in the process of delegation and there is a large problem in that area. What is CENTR’s role and position in assisting these countries in Africa?
Giovanni – We would like this outreach programme to be better developed and implemented. We are happy to help assist any registry with any technical, legal issue. If there is a re-delegation problem we do not interfere, this is something for IANA/ICANN. We can help if for example a registry needs help with training people, we can help to finance this. We cannot supply any money in cash. We simply give training, accommodation and travel expenses if you wish to come to Europe to attend one of the registries training courses.
Question: We are now getting confused. First you say CENTR will work with country codes and now you say you are only a training body. I would like some clarification about the relationships between CENTR, ICANN and the RIPE NCC.
Giovanni – CENTR is an international organisation similar to ICANN, RIPE and the others. We have a mutual relationship with these other organisations. We exchange information, attend their meetings, give presentations and so on. CENTR of course is primarily there to take care of our members. We provide them with studies, opportunities etc. We also welcome the participation of any organisations that are not CENTR members. Through our outreach programme we are trying to reach non-members to make them aware of who we are and what we are doing. This also allows us to sponsor organisations that cannot afford proper training, hosting of secondary servers etc. A fund has been created by CENTR to help companies with financial problems with technical, administrative and legal issues. However we do not interfere with any issues that exist between the registry and ICANN/IANA. In the beginning CENTR had members only from the European region but recently began accepting members from outside Europe and we therefore no longer have strict boundaries.
Question: What is your relationship with AFTLD, this is the ccTLD association in Africa? I also wanted to take this opportunity to let everyone here know that AFTLD exists and is something similar to CENTR in Africa.
Giovanni – CENTR has attended some of the AFTLD meetings. We communicate with them and are pleased with our current relationship. As a new manager I shall be contacting them as well as all the other regional organisations similar to them.
Question: Can you clarify some issues? It seems to me that CENTR focuses on the same entities as the RIPE NCC, is this correct? Why is the job of CENTR not done by the RIPE NCC then? Also, why are we now creating another organisation in Africa for this?
Giovanni – There is another organisation similar to CENTR for African members. We have members from all other the world. There is no overlap between the activities conducted by CENTR and the other organisations. We partake only in activities of interest to our members.
Rob – I would like to add that RIPE does not deal with domain names and we have never dealt with this. CENTR do domain names and we do IP addresses.
Question: Is this the same as IANA then?
Giovanni – IANA is in charge of names and numbers.
John Crane, ICANN – IANA is a global organisation. It is a central body that then deals with regional bodies. The RIPE NCC is a regional body.
Question: I would like to ask your advice. We have ICANN that approves the list of ccTLDs and then these are recognised by CENTR, as does AFTLD. The problem in this continent is that 80% of these ccTLDs are illegitimate. No one is helping these countries to develop legitimate ccTLDs. I know from our Kenyan experience that this is very difficult and nobody actually helps you with that.
Giovanni – CENTR does not perform this task. According to our articles of association our members are registries. We can help with completing forms but we are not the body in charge of this.
John Crane – Legitimacy of a ccTLD is a national issue. The ICANN ccTLD list is something that came about through history and there are lots of issues regarding whether these are the right people. ICANN takes the approach that national issues need to be dealt nationally. We do not believe it is our job to solve these problems. We do have a lot of ongoing re-delegation issues. We will give advice on how to go through the procedure but we can’t make the decision because it is a national issue.
Question: But where can we go for advice?
John Crane – You can come to ICANN for advice.
Comment: But we need a non-biased organisation that can give advice and help.
John Crane – We will not make a decision but we are willing to give impartial advice.
Comment: I think the policy has already taken too long. Maybe we should just get them to connect first and deal with the policy later?
Richard – I agree.
Comment: I am concerned that most of the efforts in this country have been concentrated on the liberalisation of Visat. People think this will solve our problems but I do not think it will bring down the costs. If they focus instead on fibre the cost won’t come down but the quality is so much better. Eventually with the increased quality this will then force the satellite providers to go down.
Richard – There is not any one solution to this problem. If I had a license today to go in and out of Kenya I could drive the price down. It’s not as good as fibre but it’s a good start and fibre will take a long time to be put in place.
Comment: I would just like to put in some input. I am also the General Manager for AFISPA, the African ISP association. One of the things we are doing is lobbying governments, regulators and also ISPs to move towards unifying African networks. The paper mentioned by Richard, the halfway proposition, has been adopted officially by AFISPA and successfully brought to the International forum with parts of it being adopted, for example by being part of the WSIS action plan. In keeping with that, just to give you an update, about two months ago we had an opportunity to represent the Kenya ISP association in east Africa (Zanzibar) and we were able to present our views for the region regarding the direction in which we see infrastructure developing. One of the outcomes from this meeting was that we immediately set up a task force to investigate ways of providing transit between the Kenyan Internet Exchange Point, the Ugandan Internet Exchange Point and the Tanzanian Internet Exchange Point. This was a major victory for us from the private sector to get regulatory government support for that kind of an initiative. We believe it will become a model for other interconnection arrangements or projects in other parts of Africa. We are keen to see more cross-border connectivity so that in Africa we can have those digital arteries talked about by Richard.
Richard – I missed out a number of facts in my presentation. That ruling at your meeting in Zanzibar was great and it’s a classic example of what is and isn’t happening. We have regulators that go to a conference with fantastic ideas and agree with sensible proposals and yet at Kenya Data Networks I was ready for the last six months with an e1 of capacity from Nairobi to Kampala and another e1 from Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam but to date have still not been given regulatory approval to cross that border.
Another fact I recently heard regarding this intervention cost is that three billion dollars has been spent on publicising the need for IPv6. Give me 50% of that and you will have fibre covering the whole of Africa. We do not need IPv6 for several years to come but need fibre across the whole of Africa and we need it now.
Axel concluded the second day of the RIPE NCC Regional Meeting. He thanked the sponsors (KENIC, Kenya Data Networks, Adwest and Swift Global) and those who helped to prepare the meeting. He also thanked everyone who attended, noting that there will not be another RIPE NCC Regional Meeting in Africa, as AfriNIC will take over the task in the future.
Meeting closed at 13:06