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UK.gov squatting on £1bn IPv4 motherlode

Epetition asks DWP to flog its /8 block of internet addresses

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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 51.0.0.0/8 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. ®

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