An update on the historical resources transition

By on 13 Apr 2022

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In March last year, APNIC announced that historical resource holders in the region would need to update their Member profile with APNIC by 1 January 2023 to receive registration services. That news was part of a decision made to provide all account holders with historical resources access to Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) services.

One year on, and with the deadline now only nine months away, I thought it would be a good time to provide an update to the community on how this transition is progressing and what APNIC is doing to assist historical resource holders.

Before I do so, it’s worth giving some background to this work.

Improving routing security for historical resources

For several years, the APNIC community discussed how to provide RPKI services to historical resource holders; there were certainly some robust discussions at APNIC meetings. APNIC Member fees fund the development and maintenance of RPKI services (and all other services). Allowing historical resource holders (most paying no fees) to use those services at no cost was considered unfair to many Members.

However, APNIC and the community have always understood that improved routing security benefits everyone — it is critical to the health and stability of the Internet globally — and therefore every resource holder needs access to RPKI.

A more accurate registry database also benefits everyone. There are more than 3,000 records of historical resources in APNIC’s Whois Database that are decades old, and it is likely that many are no longer accurate. 

Alongside these considerations, the community has continued to indicate depletion of the pool of unallocated IPv4 is a challenge and has asked APNIC to recover unused IPv4 address space for distribution to new organizations that need it, in accordance with address policy. A significant amount of historical address space is unrouted and likely not being used at all. Work tracking down historical holders in the past year has already seen the voluntary return of 488,704 unused IPv4 addresses that will eventually be made available for allocation to Members.

With all this in mind, the decision was made in March 2021 that historical resource holders in the APNIC region would need to become Members or Non-Members. 

Given the previous community discussions on the matter, there was an understanding that historical resource holders were largely unwilling to pay full Member fees for their historical address space that previously incurred no ongoing charges.  

To balance access to services, RPKI security, and fairness to both Members and historical holders, it was decided that historical address holdings would not be considered in the calculation of annual membership fees; instead, only the annual membership fee would be payable.

It’s important to note that excluding historical address holdings from fees means this transition will not result in significant revenue changes for APNIC.

Contacting historical resource holders

While historical holders have been given almost two years notice to make the transition, getting the word out to the custodians of those resources is not straightforward. 

Many of the contacts have changed, or the original custodian organization has been sold or gone out of business, and it is not uncommon for some holders to not even know they have the address space when we do reach them.

Emails have started going out for those who APNIC has contact information. We have found that 33% have no email at all, and another 20% have bounced back with no alternative address.

APNIC’s current efforts are focused on tracking down historical resource holders as best we can to alert them of the changes and help them work through the process. We are working on simplifying the process as much as possible and will be improving this as we get feedback.

To minimize costs, APNIC has not added any additional head count to cover this work.  Instead, we are taking advantage of functionality in our case management software (Salesforce) to automate some communication to make it as streamlined as possible.

If you hold historical resources and have received a communication from APNIC, simply follow these three easy steps:

Step 1 — Please read through the instructions contained in the attached files carefully.
Step 2 — Reply with the completed forms.
Step 3 — Our team will process your documents and set up your APNIC account.

We understand there are questions historical holders have, especially on cost and what action needs to be taken. An FAQ has been developed and APNIC will keep adding to it as we receive more feedback from resource holders.

There’s more information available on the APNIC website too. We understand that many cases will face a unique challenge, so our team is standing by to help. If you have historical resources and have not received an email from APNIC, or know someone that might be impacted, simply email helpdesk@apnic.net, or reach out via the online chat or phone

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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