UK.gov squatting on £1bn IPv4 motherlode
Epetition asks DWP to flog its /8 block of internet addresses
The UK's Department for Work and Pensions is sitting on up to £1bn worth of IPv4 addresses that it is not using, according to an online petition.
The epetition was sparked by a blog posting from programmer John Graham-Cumming, who spotted the /8 block of addresses, over 16.8 million, was completely unused on the Autonomous System Numbers (ASN) database.
An /8 block of IPv4 addresses could be worth between $500m and $1.5bn as the space runs out of available addresses. The Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) has urged all stakeholders to deploy IPv6, the new protocol, on their networks as IPv4 reserves rapidly deplete.
The epetition claims that the DWP is throwing money down the toilet by hanging onto the unused addresses.
"If they are being used for internal, private networks then this is a phenomenal waste of public funds - the block 10.0.0.0/8 is specifically earmarked for use on internal private networks, and using the globally routed 184.108.40.206/8 internally is madness," it said.
"£1 billion of low-effort extra cash would be a very nice thing to throw at our deficit."
The Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge Julian Huppert tweeted today that he had tabled a Parliamentary question to the DWP to ask about its use of the block.
An RIPE NCC infographic shows that just 17.28 million, or just over one /8, IPv4 addresses remain in its available pool as of today, a small part of which is reserved for "unforeseen circumstances" and temporary assignments. ®
Re: Already answered
"More than half a billion?"
Yep. Easily, even if it were technically possible.
Let's accept their estimate of 80% usage. That means that whatever range you replace it with is effectively a class A range. This network connects a lot of networks that require access to the Internet, so whatever range you use must be in RFC1918. SO, the easiest option is to use 10.x.x.x.
OK, that's the easy bit out of the way, to enable communications across this network, it is your task to organise and re-number the internal networks of every government department, every local council, school, police authority, fire service etc. etc. so that they do not use any 10.x.x.x address internally (to ensure that they can reach any and all services on the network) and then go round and do the same for all the private companies that have a need for direct communications with any aspect of government.
If you can do that for less than half a billion and within a time-scale so that the whole exercise isn't pointless I'll buy you that pint to the left!
Re: When I worked there
According to a 2007 report the DWP has ~125,000 staff. Even assuming there are 2 computers per employee, you're saying it will cost £4000 to remap each computer.
Re: Time of the essence, I think
It's worth what someone would pay for it... Nobody has $1b to spend. They'd also have to do it underhand anyway as under RIPE rules they can't sell it, only relinquish it back to RIPE for $0.
The whole thing's pretty silly. Even if it *was* released back into the pool it pushes back exhaustion about a month. Then you're back to square one except you've spent millions forcing several government departments to restructure for no reason.