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Proposal - Establishment of an African Regional Internet Registry | Kuala Lumpur 1997

Kuala Lumpur - 24 June 1997

  • Alan Barrett < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > - South Africa
  • Nii Quaynor < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > - Ghana
  • Sana Bellamine < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > - Tunisia
  • Nashwa Abdel-Baki < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > - Egypt


Status of this document

This is the initial public announcement, made after several months of private circulation and review.

Jon Postel of the IANA has reviewed an earlier draft of this proposal. He has indicated that he thinks the proposal is reasonable, and that he does not see any problems (assuming that the proposal gets consensus support in the region). 

Various people from existing regional registries have reviewed this proposal and expressed support. Support for this proposal has been obtained from people in the following African countries:

  • Cameroon 
  • Egypt
  • Ghana
  • Namibia
  • Senegal
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Tunisia
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe


1) Background

The IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) has overall responsibility for the allocation of IP address space. As described in RFC 2050, the IANA grants a few regional registries the authority to allocate IP address space within their respective geographical areas (which are of continental scope).

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and certain other organisations that satisfy certain criteria listed in RFC 2050 obtain IP address space from the regional registry that serves their area. In order to encourage topological address space assignment, other organisations should ordinarily obtain their IP address space from their ISP.

At present, there are three regional IP registries: the RIPE-NCC (serving Europe and surrounding areas, including parts of Africa), the APNIC (serving the Asia and Pacific region), and the InterNIC (serving the rest of the world, including parts of Africa). 

RIPE and APNIC fund their IP registry activities by requiring organisations that want IP address space to become members of RIPE or APNIC, and charging membership fees based on the size of the organisation. (See RIPE-151 for RIPE's current fee structure, and APNIC-050 for APNIC's current fee structure.)

The IP registry operations of the InterNIC are not paid for directly, but are subsidised by income that the InterNIC obtains from its other activities (notably domain name registration). (At one time, the InterNIC's IP registration operations were funded partly by grants from the US government's National Science Foundation (NSF), but that is no longer the case.) The InterNIC intends to transfer its IP registry operations to ARIN, which will be a non-profit corporation funded partly by membership fees and partly by allocation fees and maintenance fees.

This document proposes that an African regional registry called the AfriNIC be formed, with a funding model similar to that proposed for ARIN. It is expected that African organistions that presently obtain IP address space from RIPE or the InterNIC will in future obtain IP addresss space from the AfriNIC.

Such an African regional registry will allocate IP address space, autonomous system numbers, and other identifiers that might from time to time be appropriate, maintain databases of registry information, make appropriate views of the databases (for example, DNS and WHOIS) available for queries from the public (for example, via WHOIS and DNS queries), and generally perform the tasks expected of a registry.


2) Guiding principles

The authors of this proposal have been guided by the following principles.

An African regional IP address registry should operate as a neutral, non-profit organisation, and should act in the long term best interests of the entire community which it serves, managing scarce resources such as IP address  space in the public trust. In particular, it will not sell address space, but will manage it according to widely supported guidelines.

In order to make good decision about the long term best interests of its community, and to ensure that its policies are adapted in a timely manner to meet changing circumstances, an African regional registry should liaise with the IANA, with other regional registries (such as RIPE, APNIC and the InterNIC or ARIN), and with any other entities that may from time to time be appropriate.

The management of the IP address space should be under the control and administration of those that depend upon it. Those that depend upon IP address space are end users such as ISPs, corporate entities, universities and individuals. 

A non-profit organisation, acting as a regional registry serving the African region, is an appropriate vehicle to allow end users to exercise their control over allocation of IP address space in the African region.


3) Objectives

The proposed objectives of AfriNIC are:

  1. to provide the service of allocating and registering Internet resources for the purpose of enabling communications via open system network protocols and to assist in the development and growth of the Internet in the African region; 
  2. to assist the African community in the development of procedures, mechanisms, and standards to efficiently allocate Internet resources as a service to the community as a whole;
  3. to provide educational opportunities to further Members' technical and policy understanding of the industry;  
  4. to develop public policies and public positions in the best interest of the Members and to seek legislative and regulatory consideration of issues of general benefit to the Members, where and when appropriate;


4) Management Structure

It is proposed that AfriNIC be composed of the following:

  • Members 
  • Board of Trustees (7 voting members plus 1 ex officio)
  • Advisory Council (9 voting members plus 1 ex officio)
  • Executive Director and staff

4.1. Members

Membership will be open to any person or entity wishing to participate in the affairs of AfriNIC. Members will pay an annual membership fee, and will be entitled to attend membership meetings, to vote (in person, by proxy, or by appropriately authenticated postal or electronic means) in elections (such as the election of members of the Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees), and to enjoy any other Member benefits that might apply. It is anticipated that, under this fee-based framework, the membership will provide a focused, considered, and responsible approach to addressing and solving the challenges facing the Internets numeric addressing scheme. 

Membership will be optional. AfriNIC will allocate IP address space to Members and non-Members following the same policies and guidelines for each. Both Members and non-Members will pay appropriate fees for services that they obtain from AfriNIC.

Wherever mention is made of Members being elected or appointed to positions of office within AfriNIC, it shall be understood that only natural persons may be so elected or appointed. Where a Member of AfriNIC an entity other than a natural person, then the Member shall appoint a person as their representative to AfriNIC, and that person shall be eligible for election or appointment in the Member's stead, and shall be eligible to attend and vote at meetings in the Member's stead.


4.2. Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees will have the ultimate responsibility for the business affairs and financial wellbeing of AfriNIC. The Board of Trustees will manage the affairs of AfriNIC in a manner consistent with guidance that they receive from the Advisory Council (which represents the Members), and consistent with stewardship of a limited public resource. The Board of Trustees is also expected to liaise with and seek guidance from appropriate external entities, such as the IANA and other regional registries. The Board of Trustees will be able to act even if the Advisory Council is unable to offer guidance on any particular topic.

There shall be eight voting members of the Board of Trustees, and each shall have an equal vote. One Trustee shall be appointed by the IANA every year, and need not reside within the region served by AfriNIC. The Executive Director shall be an ex-officio Member of the Board of Trustees, and will act as the liaison between the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Council. The remaining six Trustees shall be elected for three-year terms by the Members of AfriNIC in the manner more fully described below, shall all reside within the region served by AfriNIC, at least two of the six shall reside North of the equator and at least two of the six shall reside South of the equator, and not more than two of the six shall reside in any one country. Trustees may but need not be Members of AfriNIC. Trustees will not be paid for their service.

Special arrangements are necessary to select the initial members of the Board of Trustees. The IANA will select the one IANA representative on the initial Board of Trustees. The remaining six members of the initial Board of Trustees of AfriNIC will be selected jointly by the IANA, the Director General of APNIC, the Manager of the RIPE NCC, and the Manager of IP registration at the InterNIC or ARIN. Of the six initial members so selected (not counting the one IANA representative), two will be appointed for a one-year term, two will be appointed for a two-year term and two will be appointed for a three-year term. This selection of the initial Board of Trustees will have to be completed before AfriNIC begins operations and accepting Members.

When vacancies arise on the Board of Trustees (whether due to the expiry of the term of office of any Trustee or for any other reason), the Advisory Council shall prepare a list of nominations containing two or 
three nominations for each vacant position, the Members shall elect one of the nominated individuals, and the newly elected Trustee shall be appointed for a three-year term. When a Trustee reaches the end of the three-year term of appointment (or a shorter term in the case of the initial Trustees), the Advisory Council may but need not include that Trustees name on the list of nominations. Elections to the Board of Trustees may occur at any time of year, and will be performed by postal or electronic means, authenticated in an appropriate way. 

No person may simultaneously serve on both the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Council, except in an ex-officio position.


4.3. Advisory Council

The Advisory Council shall act in advisory capacity to the Board of Trustees on all matters involving the interests, activities, and operations of AfriNIC. The Advisory Council is to act on behalf of the membership on all matters of concern to AfriNIC. The Advisory Council is expected to consider the long term best interests of the membership, and to take cognisance of the fact that AfriNIC is acting in the public trust as steward of limited public resources such as IP address space. The Advisory Council may seek guidance from appropriate external entities (such as the IANA, other regional registries, and other industry groups).

There shall initially be nine voting members of the Advisory Council, and each shall have an equal vote. The members of the Advisory Council shall be elected for three-year terms by the Members of Afrinic in the manner more fully described below. Members of the Advisory Council must be Members of AfriNIC. Members of the Advisory Council may but need not reside within the region served by AfriNIC. Members of the Advisory Council will not be paid for their service. The Board of Trustees may from time to time increase or decrease the size of the Advisory Council to accommodate changing conditions, but the size shall not be reduced below nine members.

Special arrangements are necessary to select the initial members of the Advisory Council. The initial members of the Board of Trustees shall select the initial members of the Advisory Council from among the Members of AfriNIC. Of the nine initial members so selected, three will be appointed for a one-year term, three will be appointed for a two-year term and three will be appointed for a three-year term. This selection shall be done within the first three months of operation of AfriNIC, and AfriNIC may operate without an Advisory Council until such time as the initial Advisory Council is appointed.

At the Annual General Meeting every year, the Members of AfriNIC shall elect replacements for those members of the Advisory Council whose terms have expired. Each such newly elected Councillor will be appointed for a three-year term, and terms shall begin and end on the date of the Annual General Meeting. Outgoing Councillors may be reelected for additional terms. If an untimely vacancy arises on the Advisory Council due to death, resignation, or any cause other than ordinary expiry of the term of office, the Board of Trustees shall select a temporary replacement who shall serve until such time as the previous Councillor's term of office would ordinarily have expired.

In addition to the voting members of the Advisory Council, the Executive Director shall be a non-voting ex-officio Member of the Advisory Council, and will act as the liaison between the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Council.

No person may simultaneously serve on both the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Council, except in an ex-officio position.


4.4. Executive Director and staff

The Board of Trustees shall appoint an Executive Director, who will be responsible to the Board of Trustees for the day to day operations of AfriNIC. The Executive Director will be an employee of AfriNIC, and will be responsible for hiring and supervising all other employees.


5) Training of AfriNIC Staff

RIPE, APNIC and the InterNIC/ARIN have all offered to assist with training of AfriNIC registry staff. It is envisaged that AfriNIC staff would serve an internship at one or more of the other regional registries.


6) Legal Status of AfriNIC

It is proposed that AfriNIC be registered as an "Incorporated Association not for Gain" in terms of section 21 of the South African Companies Act. Such a company must have at least seven members, with no upper limit.

In terms of South African legislation, a section 21 company must: 

  1. be formed for a lawful purpose; 
  2. have a main object of promoting religion, arts, science, education, charity, recreation or any other cultural or social activity of communal or group interstes; 
  3. apply its profits (if any) or other income in promoting its main object; 
  4. prohibit the payment of any dividend to its members.


7) Office Location

It is proposed that the day to day registration business of AfriNIC be conducted out of an office in Accra, Ghana. Ghana has had full Internet connectivity since August 1995, and has several ISPs. Ghana's geographical position near the equator also makes it attractive from the point of view of compromise between Northern and Southern African interests. The location of the any offices will be reviewed from time to time by the Board of Trustees.

Network Computer Systems (NCS), an ISP based in Accra, is able to provide the use of an office with Internet connectivity. NCS has also offered to make some of their staff available for hire on a full-time or part-time basis by AfriNIC. Great care will be taken to ensure that the affairs of AfriNIC are kept separate from the affairs of NCS, and that NCS does not obtain any unfair advantage from this arrangement.

It is proposed that appropriate information (such as WHOIS service, DNS service, and web documents) be mirrored in other locations, to increase robustness and performance.


8) Funding Model

The following funding model is proposed to recover the costs incurred by AfriNIC while performing management and administration of IP address space. This model is based on the proposed ARIN model, which in turn is patterned after the RIPE and APNIC funding models. The fees are intended to provide the funding needed to operate AfriNIC in an effective and efficient manner and to allow AfriNIC's operations to keep pace with demand. AfriNIC will be a non-profit entity, and the membership, registration, and maintenance fees proposed in this funding model are to function solely as a cost-recovery mechanism to ensure the continued operation of AfriNIC.

It's important to note that AfriNIC will not be selling address space, but will charge for the services of allocating address space and maintaining databases. Entities that apply for allocation of address space from AfriNIC must satisfy the guidelines determined from time to time by the Board of Trustees (who will consider the advice of the Advisory Council and of appropriate external entities). It is assumed for purposes of this proposal that the guidelines made by the IANA and documented in RFC 2050 will be followed.

The following fees are proposed as cost recovery mechanisms for AfriNIC:

  • Membership fee for those interested in participating in AfriNIC
  • Subscription fee for bulk registration services (for ISPs) 
  • Registration fee for individual address space assignments 
  • Maintenance fee for non-contiguous non-ISP address space assignments 
  • Registration fee for individual address space transfers 
  • Registration fee for autonomous system number (ASN) allocations 
  • Maintenance fee for ASN allocations

As better budgetary figures become available even before AfriNIC begins operations, it is likely that the fees mentioned in this proposal (which were based directly on the fees in the ARIN proposal) may be reduced.

The fee model outlined in this proposal, as with all other aspects of AfriNIC's operations, will continue to be reviewed by the membership, Advisory Council, and Board of Trustees for its ability to meet the operational needs of AfriNIC, and for fairness to Members and other users of AfriNIC services. For example, if it transpires that AfriNIC is receiving more income than necessary, then the fees will be reduced.


8.1. Membership fees

The membership fee will be US$500 per year. Membership is not a requirement for allocation of address space or use of other AfriNIC registration services.


8.2. IP registration service

Most ISPs and end users receive IP address space from their upstream Internet Service Providers, not directly from AfriNIC or any other regional registry. Due to current routing restrictions, the IP registries in almost all cases issue a minimum of a /19 address prefix (equivalent to 8192 IP host addresses), and do not issue address space to entities that do not meet the requirements for a /19 allocation. Applicants that do not meet the requirements for a /19 allocation will usually be referred to their upstream service provider, but in some cases the regional registries may allocate smaller blocks.

AfriNIC will be responsible for continuing to maintain accurate and complete records of all address allocations, including those sub-allocations made by Internet Service Providers. As a result, a significant portion of AfriNIC's registry activities will be initiated by ISPs. Accordingly, separate fee structures are proposed for ISPs and organizations making frequent address block allocations on the one hand, and any other organisations or end users on the other hand.

It should also be noted that different allocation guidelines may be used for ISPs and non-ISPs; for example, ISPs are expected to reassign address space to their customers and to provide reports of such reassignments, and ISPs are ordinarily allocated address space based on their three-month requirements, while end users are ordinarily allocated address space based on their one-year requirements.


8.2.1. ISP subscriptions for bulk registrations and maintenance

As mentioned above, most ISPs will receive IP address space from their own upstream providers, not directly from AfriNIC.

To provide for a cost-effective allocation process for those ISPs that do receive address space from AfriNIC, it is proposed that "subscription" fees for registration services be charged. The subscription fee model is proposed instead of a fee for per service requests to minimize the cost of accounting and to minimize any advantage for not keeping the database up to date.

Any individual or entity may request IP address space under this bulk subscription scheme, and it is anticipated that some non-ISP organisations that make frequent address space assignments may wish to do so. However the organization must subsequently adhere to all allocation guidelines that apply to ISPs, such as submission of reassignment information.

The annual subscription fee will be based on the total allocation of address space received in the previous year, or (in the case of the first year for any ISP) on the amount of address space requested in the initial application. (For example, an ISP whose address space allocation grows by a /17 per year would be classified as Medium size, regardless of the total amount of address space allocated to that ISP.) ISPs receiving address space for the first time will be charged a fee based on the size of the initial address space allocation. The subscription fees will include inverse addressing (in-addr) delegation, listing in whois or rwhois databases, updates, and maintenance.

The following fee schedule outlines the categories, the corresponding fee, and size of the allocations in that category:

  • Small US$2500/year /24 - /19 
  • Medium US$5000/year >/19 - /16 
  • Large US$10000/year >/16 - /14 
  • X-Large US$20000/year >/14

Please note: The greater than sign ">" denotes a shorter prefix. For example, >/19 means a prefix shorter than a /19.

Any ISP moving up from one category to the next in the same year, for example an ISP that moves from the small category to the medium category, will be charged the difference in fees.


8.2.2. Individual address space assignment and maintenance

As mentioned above, most end users will receive IP address space from their ISPs, not directly from AfriNIC. However, end users that can justify an allocation of a /19 or shorter prefix (8192 or more IP 
addresses, or 32 or more of what used to be called Class C networks) may choose to obtain their IP address space directly from AfriNIC. They will then be liable for a one-time allocation fee for each new allocation, and for an annual maintenance fee for each non-contiguous allocation. The one-time allocation fee for each size allocation will be as follows:

  1. /24 to /20 US$2000 
  2. /19 US$2500 
  3. /18 US$5000 
  4. /17 US$7500 
  5. /16 US$10000 per /16

The annual maintenance fee for each non-contiguous assignment will include inverse addressing (in-addr) delegation, listing in whois or rwhois databases, updates, and maintenance. The amount of this fee is US$50 per year per address block, and is due whether or not any updates are made or any additional address space is allocated ot the same organisation in any given year. If several contiguous address blocks have been allocated to the same entity over time in such a way that the blocks could be combined into a smaller number of larger blocks, then the maintenance fee will be assessed on that smaller number of larger blocks.


8.2.3. Individual address space transfers

Any individuals/entities transferring address space by virtue of an organization name change, merger, acquisition, etc. will be charged a transfer fee to cover the administrative costs associated with the transfer. This fee will help ensure that adequate resources are available to maintain the records and databases of AfriNIC in an efficient manner and that AfriNIC's records and databases reflect current information.

The amount of this fee is US$100 for the first address block involved in each transfer, and US$50 for each additional address block that is transferred between the same two entities in the same transaction.


8.3. Autonomous System Numbers

A one-time registration fee of US$500 will be charged for each autonomous system number assigned. There will also be an annual maintenance fee of US$50 per AS number.


8.4. Reclamation of address space and other identifiers

AfriNIC shall develop appropriate policies and procedures for the reclamation of public resources such as IP address space and AS numbers that had been allocated to entities that no longer exist, entities that cannot be contacted, entities that have not paid their fees, and entities that no longer need those resources.


9) Auditors

One of the "big six" international accounting firms (Arthur Anderson, Coopers and Lybrand, Deliotte and Touche, Ernst and Young, KPMG, or Price Waterhouse) shall be appointed as AfriNIC's auditors.


10) Acknowledgements

A lot of the words in this proposal were stolen or adapted from various RIPE, APNIC and ARIN documents.

The following people provided useful comments on earlier versions of this document. (That does not necessarily mean that they agree with everything here.)

  • Randy Bush < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
  • Kim Hubbard < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
  • David R. Conrad < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
  • F. Jacot Guillarmod < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
  • Russell Vincent < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
  • Mark Elkins < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
  • Andras Salamon < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >