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                       JPNIC Translated Document

Source document: JPNIC REPORT 12
Date of the source: August 1994
Date of the last update of this translation: November 16, 1995

This is a translation of a JPNIC document. JPNIC provides this
translation for convenience of those who can not read Japanese. But it
may contain mis-translations, and is by no means official. One should
consult the source document written in Japanese for detail.
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        Revision of membership fees system

 As it was reported in the last issue, the general meeting of JPNIC for
the year 1994 was held on April 5, 1994 at the Kikai Shinkou Kaikan of Tokyo.
After the general meeting, the meeting for discussing the membership fees was
opened by the members. In this issue, the progress of the meeting
and the future schedules will be explained.

        FINANCE-WG

  Last year, the Working Group of the committee member named CHARGE-WG did
the investigations related to membership fees, and it was engaged in
coordinating the suggestions among the members. This, year FINANCE-WG is
established for investigating not only the membership fees, but also
the system of JPNIC and the future basis of finances from a multilateral
viewpoint.

 This WG is thinking in the direction of considering the opinions of the
members for future discussions. For that, people outside of the steering
committee are also allowed to participate, and the discussions regarding
modification of rules for membership fees for the domestic Internet is based
on mailing list. The meeting was the starting point of this activity.

        Points that are to be considered for membership fees

 During the meeting, at first there was a report from the WG which was
involved in investigating the system for last year, and after that the
draw-backs, and the points for organizing the related topics were put into
a list. Out of them, some of the important points are discussed below.
These problems are not only related to JPNIC but also to the mechanism
of domestic Internet including JPNIC.


 The members of JPNIC and the eligibility for membership

 The present members are the administrators of network projects. This is
because, JPNIC was founded as a common center for these network projects.
And it is also based on the idea that the unit for the domestic Internet would
be network project. However, there are strong opinions that the user
organizations connected directly to the domestic Internet should be considered
as members.

 Ratio of member and membership fees

 At present the amount of membership fees for JPNIC is based on the
participating network's scale. The scale of the network is determined by
the number of organization (more precisely, the number of domain)taking part
in it. For raising membership fees, most of the providers are uniformly
distributed among the participating organizations. There are organizations
that belong to more than one network projects and there are cases where they
had to pay the membership fees twice. Although, at present the membership fees
is calculated by taking the logarithm of the number of domain and approximating
the same to a step function, there might be opinions to make the calculation
much more simple. Besides, the number of JPNIC member is almost correlated
to the membership amount. One of the point to be consider is this balance.

 As the appearance of commercial Internet provider and local networks,
the participation of individuals and individual organizations are on a rise.
Now whether to consider these users and large organizations in the same way
is also a point that has to be investigated.

 Type of member

 There is a big difference among the membership fees of Academic research
networks and the rest. This is because, apart from membership fees, the former
contribute to JPNIC in several ways. However, as the scale of JPNIC gets
bigger, the number of commercial user gets increased and in this situation
we can not expect this kind of contribution from the academic research
networks.

 Administrative work of JPNIC

 Within the frame of international NIC activities, new responsibilities
like development of international database for supporting a stable service,
support for establishing APNIC (Asia Pacific NIC) have appeared. Whether to
treat these things under the same system or to give the responsibility to
some other organization is a subject that needs further discussions.


 Incorporation of JPNIC

 There are opinions that for a stable administration and for providing
permanent service, JPNIC has to be transformed into an incorporation. If it
is done in that way then it will be formally recognized by the society, and
there will be benefits like, full-time staff, donation, assistance, grant etc.
On the other hand, there are anxieties that the overhead will get increased
and it is necessary to investigate the financial basis for making it an
incorporation.

 Contents of the discussion

  There was an active discussion focused on the above mentioned points and
a presentation was performed based on the documents [JPNIC membership fees]
distributed by Reiji Aihara (CSI/Hiroshima University). The proposal was
to obtain membership fees proportional to the number of domain connected
and to get rid of exceptions like academic discounts.

 Following is the discussion related to the proposal given by Reiji Aihara
along with a summary of the meeting.


  Future directions and the form of the organization

 o Instead of thinking only about the next year the investigation has to
   be continued with a long-term prospect.

 o Membership fees cannot be obtained (difficult to obtain) with in the
   present frame work of voluntary organization. The actions for making
   JPNIC an incorporation and whether to distribute the responsibility to
   other organizations has to be decided immediately.

 o It is not easy to establish a company for hiring full-timers. It seems
   that there are methods apart from making JPNIC an incorporation. If the
   main objective is set to support the secretariat then it is not necessary
   to transform JPNIC into an incorporation.

 o The activities of JPNIC are generated from the practical network field and
   as it is an unique organization (this kind of organization is rare even in
   America), its structure has to be maintained.

 Fair method for distributing membership fees

 1. Calculating membership fees based on the number of domain

 o It has to be checked that whether there is excessive opposition from
   the JPNIC member related to the basis for deciding the scale of the
   network based on the number of domain. Domain number is used for only to
   set up a standard for determining the scale of the network, and it is
   unfair to determine the membership fees by simply making it proportional
   to the number of domain.

 o A part of the expenses necessary for the activities of JPNIC has to be
   obtained from the membership fees. However, this should correspond to
   the amount of data (reflects on the purchase of disk or CPU) and on the
   work load (amount of work related to maintenance and modification). The
   present system is favorable to the large scale networks.

 o The fairness should not only be considered among the JPNIC members
   or organizations but also a system has to be formed so that the individual
   users feel the same fairness. For example, although the ac domain is an open
   environment, only a restricted number of users can use it in co domain.
   Therefore, it is desirable to determine the membership fees based on the
   number of accounts and the frequency of using the Internet. However, it
   is difficult to determine the number of accounts and the frequency of
   usage.

 o A rule for obtaining higher membership fees from the universities that
   have a large number of accounts has to be considered.

 2. Academic discount

 o The idea behind subsidizing the membership fees of the academic research
   network was based on their voluntary contributions. However, at present
   they can not be considered within the academic versus commercial scheme.
   To be point-blank, the membership fees of the academic networks are cheap
   because they can not afford it.

 o At present the ratio between the sum of type A and type B is 1 to 1, but
   in the present system even if the ratio of membership fees of class B
   gets increased it does not reach to the 70% of the whole amount. Therefore,
   there is a possibility of obtaining more membership fees from type B.

 3. Unit for members and determination of the scale of network projects

 o Business purpose (commercial) BBS should also become a member of JPNIC.

 o The work load of JPNIC is not simply proportional to the number of domain.
   If each network project check the mistakes that has occurred during the
   preparation of the registration form then the work load would be reduced.

 o The scale of the network can not be determined only from the number of
   domain. The services provided by JPNIC is not only domain name and IP
   address allocation. It also administrates these names and numbers.
   Therefore, the idea for determining the scale of the network by considering
   the number of users using these information is considerable.

 o If it is considered that who is constructing the network, then naturally
   NSP (Network Service Provider) would be included as a member. Big providers
   are engaged in providing services to a number of organizations, and as a
   result they reduce the work load of JPNIC. In reality, the scale merit
   has appeared for the relation in between the amount of data and the
   administration/maintenance (machines, labor) cost of the same and this
   factor has a tendency to increase as the amount of data get increased.

 o At this stage, it is necessary to think that whether this scale-merit
   factor is fair to all organizations or not.

 o It is not possible to calculate the membership fees by fulfilling several
   demands. Instead of raising the membership fees for type A, if there is
   a room in the budget then the ratio of fees for type B should be reduced,
   and the difference between A and B has to be reduced gradually.

  How to promote this discussion

 o The following four problems, 1) Scale of the network, measure
   the amount of data, 2) Decide a function (linear/logarithmic/square root)
   based on the future estimation, 3) The total fund of JPNIC, 4) discount,
   division between type A and type B etc. are to be discussed independently.

 There were active discussions regarding the points, however, (as it was
expected) because of the complexity of the problems, diversity of thinking,
decisions could not be taken at the same place. However, the recognition of
these problems and the agreement on the future schedule can be thought as the
most important outcome of this meeting.

 Future activities

 Modification of membership fees system is an important problem and it has
to be considered as a subject that has to be discussed during the general
meeting. In order to obtain an approval prior to the settlement of the budget
for the next year, it is necessary to reexamine the points before the
submission of the proposal. In order to exchange messages among the
participants who are located in different places, the FINANCE-WG has taken the
decision to perform its activities based on mailing list. However, a lot of
people are very busy and they don't have the time to reply the mails. This
assures that it is necessary to meet each other for progressing the work with
in a short period. For that, each one should prepare a draft and a plan has
been set to arrange a meeting for intensive discussion for one to two days
within the first half of August. During the meeting, including the two types
of membership fees, the main points of the financial plan for the future
activities of JPNIC from 1995 is to be prepared. Each proposal is to be
examined and the decision will be taken during emergency meeting based on the
vote of the members.

 The steering committee, board of trustees and the staffs of the secretariat
are devoting a fair amount of time along with their own professional work
for the development of the Internet of Japan and the Internet of the world.
However, there is a limitation for achieving things with limited budget and
time. Therefore, we seek the cooperation and understanding from the members.
To be precise, the representatives (JPNIC member) of the member (Network
project) are requested for not only to distribute the newsletters to each of
the project network's member, but also to ask their members to read the public
online (mail server, anonymous FTP, Gopher (*2)) documents related to the
subjects like the minutes of the meeting etc. Comments from members and even
from non-members will be highly appreciated. Comments and suggestions should
be sent to the following e-mail address.

 goiken@nic.ad.jp

 Most of the committee members are technically skilled, and the number of
members having the knowledge of management, benefit of commercial
organizations, experience for establishing an incorporation and the
knowledge for processing financial matter is less. Therefore advice from
professionals will be highly appreciated.

 For applying for the participation to the mailing list for discussing
membership fees system, please apply to the address given below with
name of the applicant, mail address and the name of the project.
                                (Susumu Sano: WIDE, Kunio Goto: TRENDY)

1* For the present membership fees system, please refer to the 12/93 issue.
2* It will be on www within a short period.
            

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