RIPE 87: ‘Something needs to change’ – ‘chief frugal officer’ describes a problematic future

RIPE, the regional internet registry for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia, has a tricky few years ahead as income reduces and inflation rises, according to Simon-Jan Haytink, chief financial officer at RIPE NCC, the coordination centre for RIPE activities.

Speaking at the General Meeting on November 29, 2023, Haytink forecast losses of €4-8 million ($4.4-8.8 million) in each of the financial years from 2025 to 2027, unless “we either increase income, or reduce costs.”

The key reasons were a drop in income as membership accounts were consolidated, high inflation, and memberships in high risk countries, such as Ukraine, where fees are either paid late or not at all.

Describing himself as “the CFO – chief frugal officer,” he conceded this was a worst-case outlook. “This could be considered a conservative forecast, but we advise that something needs to change,” Haytink said.

Also read: Randy Bush honoured at RIPE 87 after calling RIRs a ‘monopoly’

RIPE is a non-profit organisation that is responsible for allocating IP addresses for telecom and internet service providers in its region, while also supporting the wider internet community.

A change to how executive board members are appointed was also described, where incoming board members must not have a stake or interest or be employed by any company already represented by an existing board member, and may not be in the board of another RIR, ICANN or ISOC, and may not be members of the ASO AC.

Athina Fragkouli, chief legal officer for RIPE NCC told BTW, “This is not due to any specific situation, but is just a process that we have been undertaking already for some time.”

Also read: Switch off to switch on: The internet’s eco-conscious wake-up call from RIPE 87

Other key moments from the RIPE 87 General Meeting

– Fees unchanged for 2024, but Hans Petter Holen, RIPE NCC managing director and CEO, said the 5% budget cut from €40 million to €38 million could not happen every year.

– Audience members recommended salaries for RIPE employees be raised with inflation, as a minimum, independent of performance.

– A category scheme for membership fees was also described, though the precise nature and structre of the scheme would need further analysis.


James Durston

James Durston is the Editor-in-Chief for Blue Tech Wave, and a former editor and journalist for some of the world's biggest international media organisations.

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