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

Internet veteran Randy Bush has been given the Rob Blokzijl Award for 2023 by RIPE, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia, for making “a substantial and sustained contribution to the development of the Internet in the RIPE NCC Services region.”

The award came just minutes after Bush, well-known for his outspoken views on Internet governance and operations, gave a speech lamenting various failings of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) over the years, and called for changes to how RIRs operate.

“The situation in AFRINIC is notorious, ARIN was far from perfect for years and APNIC was owned by a single man,” he said during one of the opening plenary sessions at RIPE 87, being held in Rome.

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Randy Bush acceptance speech Rob Blokzijl Award RIPE 87.
In his acceptance speech, Randy Bush paid tribute to Rob Blokzijl.

Randy Bush lists various failings of Regional Internet Registries

In a speech that covered numerous points, he called out the world’s RIRs for wasting money and resources on things that were not serving their missions. “The Registries are a monopoly, so why spend all this money? Do we need fancy dinners in castles? Do we need to spend money on all this marketing? It’s a monopoly, people have no choice but to use them,” he said.

He also said the usability of the RIRs needs a major overhaul. “Why do I need to be trained to use the RIR services? Any regular business that needed its customers to spend all this time being trained to use the thing wouldn’t be in business very long. We need to make it much simpler and easier.”

During his acceptance speech for the award, Bush also noted how all three winners of the award to date have been older white males, after Wilfried Woeber won in 2018 for his dedication over 30 years to building an interconnected internet, and Gert Döring in 2022 for his work to promote IPv6. “This is a bug, not a feature,” Bush said. “We really need more diversity and to celebrate women who have been around for along time too, as well as other aspects such as geographic, ethnic and even of opinion.”

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Rob Blokzijl, first chairman of RIPE
Rob Blokzijl, first chairman of RIPE, passed away in 2015.

Randy Bush pays tribute to Rob Blokzijl

Bush also spoke highly of the award’s namesake, Rob Blokzijl, who was one of the founders of RIPE in 1989 and the Chair of the RIPE community for 25 years, and who died in 2015. “Really this should be about Rob. He was a leader from behind, he wasn’t looking for glory or power, he was another old hippy who spoke simply and honestly and who had humility and humour and integrity. I grew up wanting to be Bob.”

RIPE meetings take place several times a year to allow members of the RIPE community to network and exchange ideas and experiences about the internet.


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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