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Government hoarding unused IPv4 addresses worth £920m

18 Sep 2012
New DWP office

The Department for Work and Pensions is sitting on a £920m pile of IPv4 addresses that are currently unused, a veritable treasure trove as the number of available addresses dwindles rapidly.

The revelation was made by computer worker, John Graham-Cummings, who was looking over the list of IPv4 allocated /8 blocks.

Graham-Cummings found one block allocated to the DWP, which is apparently unused.

“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,” he wrote in his blog.

The DWP has yet to comment on the addresses.

Some of those commenting on the blog argued that it would be impractical to repurpose those unused addresses, while others suggested the addresses were being used internally.

Nevertheless, the revelation comes as European internet address co-ordinator the Ripe Network Co-ordination Centre had started to allocate address space from its last /8 block.

According to some estimates, a complete /8 block could be expected to sell for up to £920m, especially as Microsoft paid $7.5m for 666,624 IPv4 addresses from bankrupt telecoms firm Nortel in 2011.

Graham-Cummings joked he accept a 10 percent finder's fee for uncovering the allocation.

Graham-Cummings rose to prominence after he organised a petition calling on the UK government to apologise for its treatment of computer pioneer Alan Turning.

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