My company has been investigating the possibility of buying our own IP ranges as we're growing at a very fast rate. However, the cost of doing business directly with our local NIC is proving to be quite high for a business the size of ours (~50 staff). I was wondering, is there any way to procure an IP address range without being a member of our regional NIC?
Usually you can talk with your internet provider, and they can "sell"* you a range of IP addresses. They should already be a NIC member, have a range of IP addresses and if they have enough free addresses for your needs, and all the technical requirements are fulfilled ('good-enough' routers, MSANs, or whatever they use), they can provide you with the desired IP range (of course for a price).
So, the first stop should be your provider, and they can give you their offer.
Only problem here is, that the IP addresses will still be owned by the provider, but you will get a range of them to use. If you wish to have your own AS, then you most probably need to join a NIC - but they you also hae to invest into a border router, and still get an agreement about BGP forwarding etc. with your current provider (if even possible).
*edit: not sell permanently, but let you use the range while the contract lasts
You can just make them up, but then - who cares about them, and if no one cares, you can not use them to talk to anyone.
What you ask is like "can I gt a phone number without involving a phone company, they are too expensive". Sure, use an internal phone system, just make no calls outside your company.
IP Addresses are not like a printer - they are like a phone number. Unless the infrastructure is there to route your call AND EVERYONE ACCEPTS THEM... they are useless.
This is what a NIC does- track it, distribute information. Members of the NIX get involved there, but this is set up for LARGE companies that are running a lot of infrastructure and NEED Them. Last time I checked the smallest block of IP addresses a NIX deals with is 4096, and you need to need them (or allocate them to customers). You also need 2+ uplinks and be able to handle BGP and get certified in the paperwork etc. for the NIC (so you do not damage their databases).
No, this is NOT for a small company just not knowing how to deal with an internet provider or use NAT.
Talk to your provider. Every provider with a cent can allocate you IP addresses from HIS range per your request, which - btw. - is not what he makes up, the paperwork is mandatory per NIC.