ITU Council Working Group on #IPv6 – Report on First Meeting in Geneva

REPORT: ITU IPv6 Group meeting
Provided by: Bill Graham, ISOC

Geneva, February 15-16, 2010

The ITU convened the first meeting of the Council-chartered IPv6 Group in Geneva, co-chaired by the Directors of the Telecommunication Standardization and Telecommunication Development Bureaus. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Mohammed El-Khamis of the United Arab Emirates, and was attended by about 20 Member States and an equivalent number of Sector Members and invited experts. The latter group included the RIRs and the authors of two studies commissioned by the ITU: Dr. Milton Mueller and Dr. Sureswaran Ramadass. For ISOC, Bill Graham and Constance Bommelaer, Leslie Daigle and Mat Ford attended. In addition, all five Regional Internet Registry CEOs and four RIR staff attended the meeting. Three ICANN staff were available to attend, but ICANN had not been invited as experts, and after some discussion, attendees decided not to let them join this meeting. This decision will be revised for future meetings. No civil society organizations were present.

As you will recall, ISOC SGE prepared a briefing note for membership that was distributed in advance of the meeting, along with information about how interested members could reach out to government delegates to explain to them the ISOC view of the items on the meeting agenda. Those were:

  • To draft a global policy proposal for the reservation of a large IPv6 block, taking into consideration the future needs of developing countries, as outlined in paragraph 23 of C09/29.
  • To further study possible methodologies and related implementation mechanisms to ensure ‘equitable access’ to IPv6 resource by countries.
  • To further study the possibility for ITU to become another Internet Registry, and propose policies and procedures for ITU to manage a reserved IPv6 block.
  • To further study the feasibility and advisability of implementing the CIR [Country Internet Registry] model for those countries who would request national allocations.
  • To assist in the implementation of the project called for by Resolution 64, taking into account the needs at regional and national level in terms of capacity building and allocation policies.
  • To report to ITU Council 2010 [13-22 April, 2010].

During the ICANN meeting and in Geneva before the meeting, it was really encouraging to hear from several members that they had used the material to brief their governments. Equally encouraging, I heard from several governments that they had received the ISOC briefing from various sources, and that they had found it useful in their own preparations. Those reports speak strongly for the willingness and ability of our membership to inform their national governments about ISOC’s positions and the importance of the Internet model and maintaining support for the Internet ecosystem when they are well informed about an issue and are provided with briefing material to help them. That is a real strength of ISOC and should be developed further in future.

The meeting itself was successful from the perspective of effectively defending and even promoting the legitimacy of the existing Internet organizations, particularly the Regional Internet Registries. All Member States that spoke except one supported the existing institutions and tried to confine discussions of the ITU role to things it can do within its mandate. The strong and focused interventions by the Internet technical community were helpful and informative. The RIR group repeatedly provided detailed technical and organizational information to inform the debate. ISOC interventions were supportive of the Internet ecosystem, and concentrated on a higher level message, pointing out that issues about Internet address allocation and policies should be discussed in the appropriate existing forums. Those were well received by the governments and private sector representatives.

Despite incorrect and misleading statements by one delegate about the nature and influence of IP addresses and addressing policy, the Chair of the meeting remained scrupulously neutral and fair, and guided the meeting to a reasonable conclusion. The meeting ended by creating two “correspondence groups” to continue the discussion before its next meeting, beginning September 1, 2010. The first correspondence group is to start developing an ITU Development Sector project to do capacity building to help developing countries to implement IPv6 deployment, including studies of the costs and mechanisms associated with the project. The second correspondence group is assigned to identify specific cases where member states have identified a problem obtaining IPv6 addresses, and to study ways of dealing with those problems within the existing system. The draft report recognizes that efforts to include ongoing study of the Country Internet Registry proposal from the NAV6 document, or of the rules for ITU to become some kind of global Internet Registry would be premature, in spite of some efforts to have the correspondence group focus on evaluating the viability of that proposal.