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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

DoC endorses another 5-yr contract for ICANN

Remmy Nweke

United States (US) Department of Commerce (DoC), has endorses another five year contract for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to continue to perform its functions as stipulated in the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) function.

ICANN is a non-profit organisation responsible for managing the Internet's systems of unique identifiers, including the systems of domain names and numeric addresses that are used to reach computers on the Internet.

The deal with ICANN also saw that the IANA function which includes the allocation of Internet Protocol (IP) address space, protocol identifier assignment, generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, as well as root server system management functions.

ITREALMS Online recalls that ICANN has held the contracts for this function since 1998.

Chief executive of ICANN, Dr. Paul Twomey, said that the latest contract with DoC reaffirms that ICANN is still uniquely in charge of Internet administration.

"In executing this contract the Department of Commerce has confirmed that ICANN is uniquely positioned to perform this function," he declared.

Dr. Twomey stressed that the new contract for the IANA function is a five-year agreement consisting of a series of one-year options.

"It means that ICANN remains the organisation responsible for a range of functions that are vital to the daily operation of the Domain Name System (DNS) and hence the Internet," he said.

The DNS helps users to find electronically their way around the Internet, just as every computer on the Internet has a unique address called its "IP address".

IP addresses are strings of numbers, which could be hard to remember, thus, the DNS facilitates a familiar string of letters known as the "domain name" to be used instead.

Therefore, instead of typing "192.0.34.163," Internet users could simply type www.icann.org.

Dr. Twomey also attributed the newest contract to the staff of ICANN, who he said, worked so hard to perform this important task.

“On behalf of the ICANN Board, I congratulate them on a great effort," Dr. Twomey asserted.

This agreement was initiated between the DoC, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to maintain the continuity and stability of services related to certain interdependent Internet technical management functions, known collectively as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

These functions used to be performed on behalf of the United States Government under a contract between the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the University of Southern California (USC), as part of a research project known as the Terranode Network Technology (TNT).

As the TNT project neared completion and the DARPA/USC contract neared expiration in 1999, the Government recognised the need for the continued performance of the IANA functions as vital to the stability and correct functioning of the Internet.

On December 24, 1998, USC entered into a transition agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) under which ICANN secured directly from USC, all necessary resources, including key personnel, intellectual property, and computer facility access critical to the continued performance of the IANA functions.

Having assumed these key resources as well as other responsibilities associated with privatisation of the Internet domain name system, ICANN was uniquely positioned to undertake performance of these functions.

Hence, on February 8, 2000, March 21, 2001, and then on March 13, 2003, the DoC entered into an agreement with ICANN to perform the IANA functions.

In connection with its work under these agreements, ICANN has developed and maintained close, constructive working relationships with a variety of interested parties, including Internet standards development organisations and technical bodies.

ICANN's mission is to ensure the stable and secure operation of these unique identifier systems, which are vital to the Internet' operation.

Additionally, ICANN coordinates policy development related to these technical functions through its effective bottom-up consensus model.


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