Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SOW on gTLDs inconsistent with application guidebook – ICANN

The Statement of Work (SOW) on the generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) is inconsistent with the recently approved Internet community Applicant Guidebook (AGB).

President and chief executive officer, ICANN, Mr. Rod Beckstrom made this distinction in a submission to the Associate Administrator, Office of International Affairs, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, United States’ Department of Commerce on the on-going ‘Further Notice of Inquiry on the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority Functions.’

He said that documentation requirements for new gTLDs include in paragraph C. of the draft statement of work (SOW) stated thus; “For delegation requests for new generic TLDs (gTLDs) the contractor shall include documentation to demonstrate how the proposed string has received consensus support from relevant stakeholders and is supported by the global public interest.”

This proposal, he noted, is inconsistent with the community-approved process for the introduction of new gTLDs as embodied in the Applicant Guidebook (AGB).

The AGB, he said, was approved in Singapore after intensive multi-stakeholder deliberation that included substantial contributions from virtually all stakeholders, including governments through the Government Advisory Committee (GAC).

He pointed out that the process for the introduction of new gTLDs is based on a comprehensive set of procedures to address any potential objections from relevant stakeholders.

The proposed SOW text, he said, seems to replace the process laid out in the AGB with new requirements to demonstrate that each string has explicit consensus support and is consistent with the global public interest.

He cited an instance with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function’s contract, saying that it should not be used to rewrite the policy and implementation process adopted through the bottom-up decision-making process.

“Not only would this undermine the very principle of the multi-stakeholder model, it would be inconsistent with the objective of more clearly distinguishing policy development from operational implementation by the IANA functions operator,” he said.

He stressed that instead, the requirement for the IANA functions operator should be limited to forwarding documentation published by the ICANN board regarding the approval of each new gTLD delegation request.

On the ‘Term of Contract’ from the eight-page document, ICANN president said that the Further Notice of Inquiry (FNOI) states that in the context of procurement contracts, the current framework is a long-term contract.

“While that may be true when compared to other procurement contracts, the one-year terms have a destabilizing effect on the Domain Name System (DNS) and are not helpful in building global explicit support or documented non-objection which is require only in certain limited circumstances such as applications for certain geographical names or community-based strings confidence.

“A one-year contract with options to renew exercisable at the sole discretion of the United States Government creates a persistent threat that the operator and operations of the IANA functions could be changed at any time,’ he said, underscoring the fact that by contrast, a term of at least five years would instill global confidence that the IANA functions would be carried out in a manner that ensures the security and stability of the DNS and other Internet resources.

According to him, if the current framework must continue, the addition of a presumptive renewal clause would enhance global confidence in the stability of the performance of the IANA functions.

Such a modification, ICANN president said, would also be consistent with NTIA’s past practice of routinely exercising the one-year option.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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