Millions of AMPRNet Internet Addresses Sold to Fund Grants and Scholarships

The proceeds from this month's sale of some 4 million unused consecutive AMPRNet™ internet addresses will fund operations of the nonprofit Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC). This will establish a program of grants and scholarships in support of communications and networking research -- with a strong emphasis on Amateur Radio, an ARDC news release said. ARDC manages AMPRNet.

While the sale 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 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.

In its statement, ARDC said the sale decision was unanimous and that proceeds would be invested, in the hope that they will become "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 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.

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