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Millions of AMPRNet Internet Addresses Sold to Fund Grants and Scholarships


The proceeds from this month’s sale of some 4 million unused consecutive AMPRNetÔ internet addresses will fund operations of the non-profit Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), establishing a program of grants and scholarships program in support of communications and networking research — with a strong emphasis on Amateur Radio, a lengthy ARDC news release said. ARDC manages AMPRNet. The sale to what ARDC is calling “a very big company with a significant internet presence” fetched “several million dollars.” ARDC said that its Board of Directors had agreed to keep the exact figure confidential for now, “to avoid adversely influencing others buying and selling addresses.”

The addresses sold came out of a block of some 16 million internet addresses obtained nearly 40 years ago and “devoted exclusively to Amateur Radio” for TCP/IP ham radio networking. Ownership of the addresses passed on to an informal group of hams that included Phil Karn, KA9Q, Wally Lindstruth, WA6JPR (SK), and later, Brian Kantor, WB6CYT. Karn and Kantor remain on the ARDC Board.

“It was our unanimous decision to place one-quarter of the AMPRNet address space on the market and to prudently invest the proceeds of that sale in what we hope will be a perpetual endowment from which each year we will award grants and scholarships to qualified recipients who will use the funds to advance the state of the communications arts,” ARDC said in its statement.

ARDC said it intends to grant funds “across all reaches of the educational, research, and development spectrum,” with awards going toward the support of qualified IRS 501(c)(3) organizations.

ARDC said that it would be “extremely doubtful” that radio amateurs someday need the addresses that were sold. “The hams still have over 12 million addresses and are using far fewer than half of those.

No grants or scholarships have been granted as yet. ARDC said it’s forming a committee to screen future candidate organizations.