Email Print Share

News Release 97-046

Internet Moves Toward Privatization

IP numbers handled by non-profit

June 24, 1997

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced today an action that moves the Internet toward privatization. Internet Protocol number assignments will soon be handled by a non-profit organization.

The NSF has approved a plan from Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) which establishes the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). Under the plan, ARIN would assume full responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) number assignments and related administrative tasks previously handled by NSI. The shift, expected to be fully implemented before March 1998, separates the assignment of Internet numbers (addresses) used for Internet routing from domain name registration activities (which will continue to be handled by Network Solutions). The move will affect only a relatively small number of Internet service providers and very large institutional users--around 300 last year--who obtain their IP assignments directly from NSI. Most Internet users will be unaffected by the change and most Internet service providers will continue to obtain their IP assignments from their providers.

The creation of ARIN is consistent with the recommendations received from the Internet community at workshops over the past eighteen months, and with concurrence from a federal interagency working group.

"This move is another step by the federal government in the continuing privatization and commercialization of the Internet," said George Strawn, director of the Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure division at NSF. "The Internet is no longer in its infancy. It is growing up into a commercially based, self-regulating entity. NSI should be lauded for aiding this transition."

The establishment of ARIN is important for the continued growth and the global stability of the Internet, Strawn said. ARIN is patterned after the successful RIPENIC and APNIC registration activities in Europe and Asia. Regional registries are also being created by providers in Latin America and Africa to assume responsibility for IP number assignment in those areas. It is anticipated that before long, a global council of the regional registries may work together to determine consistent and equitable global policies for IP allocation and management.

The creation of ARIN will not change any current policies or procedures for obtaining Internet numbers. Creation of ARIN will give the users of IP numbers (mostly Internet service providers, corporations and other large institutions) a voice in the policies by which they are managed and allocated within the North American region.

ARIN is intended to provide Internet service providers in North America an opportunity to help develop Internet management policies within the region and, through ARIN's collaboration with other regional registries, globally.


Editors: For more information about ARIN, see

Media Contacts
Beth Gaston, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

mail icon Get News Updates by Email 

Connect with us online
NSF website:
NSF News:
For News Media:
Awards database:

Follow us on social