This week sees the launch of Africa’s own IP space and AS numbers registry AfriNIC. Meetings taking place today and Monday will almost certainly approve a policy for the organisation clearing the way for it to apply to ICANN to take over African users from the other registries: ARIN, RIPE NCC and APNIC.

If past discussions are anything to go by much of the policy debate will be about pricing. One of the things that has motivated the setting up of AfriNIC has been the need to have a registry that responded to African circumstances in terms of offering lower prices than the developed world registries offer. However the fledgling organisation has to strike the right balance between collecting enough income to survive and giving users a better price deal.

The prices being suggested to the meeting are based on five levels of membership: extra small (USD1700 per year); small (USD2250); medium (USD3000); large (USD5000) and large (USD7000). These rates are based on the level of resources used by an organisation. As Project Manager Adiel Akplogan told us:"These rates are lower than those currently on offer to expand the use of resources." It will use RIPE NCC software to process applications made to it.

The new organisation is registered as a company in Mauritius and its physical operations will be based in South Africa. It has 30 founding members and 10 new paying members have joined recently. Once approval is given by ICANN at its December meeting (happening in Cape Town this year) the other registries will pass over 148 members in Africa that they are currently dealing with:"With estimates that there are 400-500 ISPs on the continent, we want to double this figure to 328 members over a three year period," says Akplogan. The meeting will be well attended as there will be around 200 people present, either from the Afnog meeting or from those specifically attending the AfriNIC meeting.