Google Operating System reports on Alex Lightman's theory why Google is buying up "dark fiber" -- to pursue IPv6 initiatives. According to Lightman, Google has a huge block of "slash 20" addresses -- exactly what is needed to be a large scale service provider.
That got me wondering -- what does it take to get a block of IPv6 addresses? I turn to ARIN to find the answer -- the information I found seems to provide some confirmation to Lightman's speculation.
To qualify for an initial allocation of IPv6 address space, an organization must:
a) be an LIR;
b) not be an end site;
c) plan to provide IPv6 connectivity to organizations to which it will assign /48s, by advertising that connectivity through its single aggregated address allocation; and
d) be an existing, known ISP in the ARIN region or have a plan for making at least 200 /48 assignments to other organizations within five years.
If you take ARIN's policies at face value, these statements must be true:
a) Google is an LIR (Local Internet Registry). LIRs are generally an ISP whose customers are typically end users or other ISPs.
b) Google is not considered an "end site" (therefore must be a service provider)
c) Google has plans to provide IPv6 connectivity to organizations.
d) Within 5 years Google will provide connectivity to at least 200 organizations.