from the rent-seeking-for-intangible-assets dept.
Cloud giant AWS will start charging customers for public IPv4 addresses from next year, claiming it is forced to do this because of the increasing scarcity of these and to encourage the use of IPv6 instead.
It is now four years since we officially ran out of IPv4 ranges to allocate, and since then, those wanting a new public IPv4 address have had to rely on address ranges being recovered, either from from organizations that close down or those that return addresses they no longer require as they migrate to IPv6.
If Amazon's cloud division is to be believed, the difficulty in obtaining public IPv4 addresses has seen the cost of acquiring a single address rise by more than 300 percent over the past five years, and as we all know, the business is a little short of cash at the moment, so is having to pass these costs on to users.
"This change reflects our own costs and is also intended to encourage you to be a bit more frugal with your use of public IPv4 addresses and to think about accelerating your adoption of IPv6 as a modernization and conservation measure," writes AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr, on the company news blog.
The update will come into effect on February 1, 2024, when AWS customers will see a charge of $0.005 (half a cent) per IP address per hour for all public IPv4 addresses. These charges will apparently apply whether the address is attached to a service or not, and like many AWS charges, appear inconsequential at first glance but can mount up over time if a customer is using many of them.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:
AWS could rake in between $400 million and $1 billion a year from charging customers for public IPv4 addresses while migration to IPv6 remains slow.
AWS cited increasing scarcity and claimed the cost to acquire a single public IPv4 address for customer use had risen more than 300 percent over the past few years.
Fortunately, the charge is hardly ruinous – $0.005 (half a cent) per IP address per hour, which equates to a total cost of $43.80 per year for each public IPv4 address you have – excluding any IP addresses that you might own and opt to bring to AWS using Amazon's BYOIP (Bring Your Own IP) service.
However a technologist has done the calculations and estimated that across all users, this will add up to a sum of between $400 million and $1 billion a year for AWS. Not bad for something that was being offered completely free just a few days ago (and is still offered for 750 hours a month at no cost in the AWS free tier).
The source of the billion-dollar claim is Andree Toonk, founder and CEO of network services biz Border0, who is presumably trying to generate business for his own company.
Toonk used Amazon's own IP address range data to estimate that the cloud colossus has at least 131,932,752 IPv4 addresses. Based on the average price for an IPv4 address being about $35 at the time of writing, this means that AWS is sitting on about $4.6 billion, should it wish to divest itself of them.