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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ICANN plans to review IDN fast tracking process

Barely a month to the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Internationalization of Domain Names (IDN) of country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) fast tracking process, on November 16, 2009, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has opened the review process for public comment, just as unveiled some proposed topics for IDN policy for the fast track.

ITRealms Online gathered that the final implementation plan for the Fast Track Process requires that the process undergo review annually.

ICANN is now opening a public comments forum on the review of the process.
Comments are asked to suggest potential changes to improve the process for the end-users, including the respective IDN ccTLD managers, the governments as well as the users of the resulting IDN ccTLDs comprising the registrants and general Internet users.

ITRealms Online learnt that the public comment period is open until December 17, 2010.

“There will also be a session scheduled in the ICANN meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, to further discuss the performance and potential improvement of the process, and to facilitate useful community communication about the review,” part of the statement read.

ICANN noted that following the close of the public comment period, staff will produce a paper that contains analysis of the received comments as well as recommendations for changes to the Final Implementation Plan for the Fast Track Process.

This paper, ICANN said, would be publicly posted and provided to the ICANN board, which would now consider next steps including the proposed changes which should be implemented and if additional community discussion is required.

ICANN pointed out that the submission system has been up and running with no down time since launch; ICANN has received a total of 33 requests, covering 22 languages.

“The IANA root zone database is authoritative for the TLDs that are in the root zone today. Currently 15 IDN ccTLDs have been inserted in the DNS root zone,” official said.

From a financial aspect, the process was intended to cover its own costs by a recommended processing fee of 26.000USD per string requested.

“A total of $106.000 USD has been received to date. It should be noted that the invoicing of Fast Track requests are done towards the end of the processing, hence not all requests that have completed the String Evaluation step has yet been invoiced,” ICANN said.

Meanwhile, ICANN had announced some proposed topics for the Internationalization of Domain Names (IDN) policy for the fast track.

These includes transparency, community support, meaningfulness, determination of the IDN for the Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) manager, IDN tables, disputes, confusingly similar string and objection as well as re-evaluation rights.

A public statement made available to ITRealms Online, ICANN said on transparency, that the published policy document requests are only published when they have successfully passed through the string evaluation portion of the process.

Before then, ICANN disclosed it had published only the total number of received requests, the status the requests are in and the corresponding number of languages.

“In this published material there is no regarding the countries and territories requesting the TLD, nor any details of the requests’ contents,” part of the statement read, stressing that this is very useful from the perspective that in some cases the requester wishes to keep the request confidential, and in other cases ICANN has received requests that are not valid and do not fulfill the established requirements.

In addition, ICANN noted that to a certain extent, the process is not completely open and transparent, even as a lot of end-user inquiries have been received about which countries and territories ICANN has received requests from.

Further, in comparison, ICANN said, the generic TLD (gTLD) process would publish received requests but deducting selected confidential information after the administrative review that takes place immediately after the close of an application round.

On the Community Support, the global internet coordinating agency, said, the policy document requires demonstration of Internet community support for the applied-for TLD string.

The notion of community support and the requirement for documenting such has been a topic of discussion since the launch of the process. While examples and descriptions of what this support could entail, the Final Implementation Plan does not specify exactly the amount or detail of how one can demonstrate community support.

The policy reason behind this is that the approach is different depending on geographic location, culture, and other developments in the respective countries and territories.

All such different approaches are valid and appropriate to the Fast Track Process, among others.

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