Is it time for a split between allocation and services for Internet number resources as was the case for domain name resources? Consider the following;
Back in 1996, Network Solutions had essentially four different government granted monopolies.
1) Sole Allocation of unallocated domain "name" resources for the gTLD inventory.
This function is known as gTLD Registry. Once the name record has been created, it is then granted to a registrant who requested the resource. There is an immense number of possible domain "names" with up to 65 alphanumeric choices for each gTLD registry.
2) Sole post-allocation service provider to the holder/registrant of the domain "name" resource.
These services are the updating of the records Whois information, associated linking to IP address for servers, etc.
3) Sole allocation authority for IPv4 Number Resources.
Granting from the "free" pool Network Solutions determined who would receive an allocation based upon the criteria established by ... them.
4) Sole post-allocation services for number resource holders.
These services are mainly Whois management, Routing Registry updating, sub-delegations to ISPs customers if needed, transfer of records and the crucial reverse domain name system (rDNS) through the in-addr.arpa platform.
In 1997, Network Solutions "spun" off the 3rd and 4th monopoly into a non-stock corporation known as American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) which has continued the monopoly for its region after spinning off several other Regional Internet Registers (RIR) which are in themselves monopolies.
In 1999, Network Solutions agreed to split the allocation/registry business from the services/registrar business. This split has generated enormous competition on the services for existing allocations of name resources. The price for services dropped significantly. The quality increased dramatically and with competition came market forces which acted as a form of governance.
The five RIRs do not compete with each other. They have divided up the planet based upon arbitrary geographic lines. They do not need to react to market needs. They do not have a reason to invest in development of advanced self-service tools.
Therefore is it time to introduce competition for post-allocations services for number resources?
By Peter Thimmesch, Chairman at Depository, Inc.
|Cybersquatting||Policy & Regulation|
|DNS Security||Registry Services|
|IP Addressing||White Space|
Minds + Machines