Friday, September 11, 2020

COVID-19: How not to seek ICANN reimbursement - ITREALMS

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recently launched the Pandemic Internet Access Programme Pilot for ICANN69, reports ITREALMS.

This follows the ICANN Board's resolution in support of the pilot programme to facilitate participation during the remote Public Meeting.

The pilot programme, ITREALMS gathered, offers community members who have limited Internet capacity financial assistance to increase their Internet bandwidth during ICANN69.

Reimbursement amounts of up to USD 60 will be provided to eligible applicants who purchase additional Internet bandwidth (capacity or data limits) for the duration of the month or billing cycle for October 2020. The services must be rendered by a business entity or Internet service provider, specifically for Internet or cellular data service. The provider must also provide digital or paper documentation of the upgrade costs.

"It is important that we continue to find new, innovative ways of lowering the barriers to participation, so that community members have an opportunity to contribute and have their voices heard," said Maarten Botterman, Chair of the ICANN Board of Directors. "This pilot programme is an important step towards that goal."

He also said that interested community members must apply in advance of ICANN69, and those who meet the eligibility requirements will be selected to participate.

ITREALMS equally gathered that the application deadline is Friday, 2 October 2020 at 23:59 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

However, ICANN enthusiasts were speaking bitterly about the conditions, which for them is uncalled for after all, ICANN often has records of participants, so why labour them to provide all manner of conditions for the $60 reimbursement.

And for some, the amount is very meagre considering the cost of processing USD by banks especially in developing countries including Africa.

Yet for others, considering the ware and tear of their devices, for instance, in a state where they have to still provide energy to be able to join ICANN meetings, the criteria did not cover those, let alone time individual participants commit to such meetings to name a few.

For instance, they noted that according to ICANN, reimbursements will be a maximum of USD 60.00 per each participant who meets the programme criteria.

The organisation went on to outline the eligibility requirements to include that applicants must be active members of an ICANN community Supporting Organization or Advisory Committee and have been an ICANN funded traveler within 18 months prior to ICANN69 or must be selected to participate in the current ICANN69 Fellowship or the NextGen programmes.

In addition, ICANN said, “Applicants must be registered to attend, and participate in ICANN69. Participation will be validated by the support staff of the primary membership group of applicants.

“Applicants must require additional bandwidth at home to facilitate their active participation in ICANN69.

“Applicants must have a valid personal bank account for ICANN org to wire the reimbursement funds.

“Applicants must apply for this program in advance of the meeting. The deadline to apply is 02 October 2020. Apply here.

“In addition to the above qualifications, eligibility for participation is subject to all applicable laws and regulations.”

ITREALMS gathered reliably that allowable expenses, as stipulated by ICANN for this refund, showed that expenses are for Internet bandwidth increases (capacity or data limits) for the duration of the month or billing cycle for October 2020.

“The services must be rendered by a business entity, Internet Service Provider, specifically for Internet or cellular data service. The provider must also provide digital or paper documentation (proof of purchase) of the upgrade costs.”

Also, “Participants of the ICANN Pandemic Internet Access Reimbursement Program Pilot will be required to submit service provider-issued receipts in order to be eligible for reimbursement of allowable expenses. Receipts must be submitted no later than 15 days after ICANN69. The 15-day deadline is 13 November 2020. Submissions after the deadline will not be processed for reimbursement.”

ITREALMS reports that funds may not be applied to “Services outside of bandwidth or data cap increases; Any other expenses related to the recipient's virtual participation in ICANN69 that would already be incurred by the recipient attending the meeting; and Any other expenses not specified under allowable expenses.”

Nenye Dom/Editor

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