NRO address at ICANN 57

By on 7 Nov 2016

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Paul Wilson at the opening of ICANN 57. Image credit:ICANN

On behalf of the NRO, Paul Wilson spoke at the opening ceremony of ICANN 57 in Hyderabad on Saturday, 5 November. The speech is below, or if you’d prefer to watch it, the video of the presentation is available at the end of the post.


Well, good morning, honourable ministers, ICANN colleagues and colleagues from India. It’s a great honour to be up here speaking at this particular point in the program. I’m speaking for the Regional Internet Registries who collectively manage IP addresses, IPv4 and IPv6 addresses in five regions of the world. I’m the head of one of those, APNIC, which serves the Asia Pacific region, including India of course.

Last time I spoke at an ICANN meeting was 18 months ago or so, during ICANN 52 in Singapore, and I said then that we numbers folk were the lesser-known community of ICANN, that we account for maybe 1% of the time and energy that’s spent here in these meetings. And there are good reasons for that but I did hope that my speech and this one might raise our profile at least a little bit.

In any case, on behalf of the NRO, the Number Resource Organization, representing the RIRs, I do want to thank ICANN for the opportunity to be here and to wave the numbers flag again.

So in the last 18 months, a lot has happened. For a start, there have been at least 15 or so RIR meetings around the world, including several thousand people, at least 50 different address policy proposals have been considered, and quite a few policy decisions taken. Among those, for instance, are the opening of inter-RIR IPv4 transfers between three of our regions, adjustments to transfer policies, to other IP addressing IPv6 and ASN-related policies.

And the point here is that the reason that the numbers community accounts for about 1% of what happens here is that about 99% of what happens — of what we do, that is, happens in other places. In our own forums and communities. So what you see of us here is just the tip of the numbers iceberg and as I said last time, you’re all welcome — more than welcome — to dive in and join us to see the rest of the story and to participate in the numbers communities in all of those different fora.

So as we know, there was a big event that happened also in the last two years since I was last speaking in this forum and that’s the IANA transition. And we numbers folk are all very happy that that thing is behind us now because like you all, we worked very hard on the task. The RIRs, over quite a few years, had called publicly for the transition to happen on several occasions when the ICANN arrangements were being reviewed or under renewal by the U.S. Government, so when the time came, we assembled the CRISP team, the combined RIR/IANA stewardship transition proposal team, which produced the numbers plan, which became a part of the ICG’s plan, which was accepted by ICANN and then the U.S. Government. And then at the same time, or after that, we worked together with ICANN very successfully to implement that transition plan in the form of a new agreement, and that’s the agreement between the RIRs and ICANN for the provision of IANA services. We signed that agreement at the last ICANN meeting in Helsinki, and it became active on the 1st of October, and I think we should, in the numbers community, we really want to thank the ICANN staff and board for the support that they gave to that part of the process.

We think we’re quite lucky, actually, in the numbers world to have what is really a clean and clear relationship with ICANN, such that it can be defined in a document of just actually a few pages, and that document also, by the way, defines ICANN’s accountabilities in those same few pages.

But the thing is that ICANN’s accountability is not the full extent of overall accountability in the numbers space and the RIRs themselves have got our own set of accountabilities, which we take very seriously. We were prompted, in fact, early in the transition process to launch our own accountability improvement efforts. And, so for instance, we’ve accomplished a guide in the form of a matrix to the respective governance mechanisms of all of the RIRs. We’ve undertaken an independent accountability review of the individual RIRs as independent membership-based community organizations.

And our next effort as of this week will be to launch the latest open public and independent review of the Address Supporting Organization (ASO).

But I’m sure that as Steve said, actually, this work will go on individually among the RIRs and together between us to ensure that our accountabilities are up to scratch as time goes on into the future.

So aside from all of that, it’s business as usual for the RIRs in some sense. We’re working as we always have on the operational, technical, and policy challenges of the numbers community in terms of addressing, IP — managing IP addresses for the best outcomes for the Internet itself across the world.

One of those challenges actually — and not a new one — is another transition, which is from IPv4 to IPv6 as the protocol which ultimately carries all of the other Internet services. I’m glad to say that IPv6 is continuing to increase steadily to today around 7% of all Internet users in the world, and that’s doubled since ICANN 52. It accounts for 14% of Google’s user traffic, which has also doubled. And these days, the USA leads the IPv6 tables with around 80 million users who are using IPv6 today. And that’s, again, doubled in the last 18 months.

So that all sounds good and it is good, but we need to realize that the majority of Internet operators are yet to move, and most countries in the world still have an average usage across their industry of close to zero, I’m afraid. So that actually is a digital divide today, and it’s something that will stay with us until things change.

But while I’m here in the region and in India, I can’t miss the opportunity to talk about IPv6 in this country because that has increased just in 2016 from around 1% utilization to around 10% and that equates — [applause ] — that does equate to something like 50 million Internet users in India who are using IPv6 these days and that will make India, in the very near future, the largest IPv6 population on the planet, so that deserves recognition here and thanks for the applause.

It’s just one indication of what’s happening here in India on the incredible Internet in India, and I hope that all of you from other nations, again, as we heard before, aside from the ICANN work that you’re doing here this week, I hope you’ll take the chance to learn a lot more about our host nation of India while you’re here this week in Hyderabad.

So thank you very much once again for giving this time to the numbers folks, and I hope to see you all again. Thanks.

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