Friday, September 14, 2012

The UK has an entire IPv4 /8 that it isn't using (UPDATED)

IMPORTANT UPDATES BELOW

If you take a look at the list of IPv4 allocated /8 blocks there's one interesting block in there:

51.0.0.0/8 UK Government Department for Work and Pensions 1994-08 whois.ripe.net LEGACY

That block of addresses, all 16.8 million of them, is completely unused. A check of the ASN database will show that there are no networks for that block of addresses. Right when IPv4 is running out there's a huge block sitting unused.

That's an extremely valuable asset. One recent article valued an entire /8 at between "$500 million to $1.5 billion".

So, Mr. Cameron, I'll accept a 10% finder's fee if you dispose of this asset :-)

PS A comment draws my attention to a Freedom of Information Act response from the Department for Work and Pensions concerning this block. The FOI response says that the block is used internally by the government and there are no plans to release it.

PPS This Cabinet Office document says that 51.0.0.0/8 is used internally by government and routing it onto the Internet is not desired.  So, doesn't look like this block is 'unused' just not used on the Internet.

PPPS Someone wrote and asked why I blogged this rather than investigating first. Actually, I did. I wrote to both my local MP and the Department for Work and Pensions in February and received no reply at all. I figured 6 months without a reply was long enough.

If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy my travel book for people interested in science and technology: The Geek Atlas. Signed copies of The Geek Atlas are available.

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