Finally some good news for ICANN. Following on from the announcement that their meeting in Prague last week was the largest ever with 1821 people registered, ICANN have received news they will continue to perform the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions following the awarding of a new contract by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The announcement comes about following a controversial tender period that the Department of Commerce abandoned in March 2012 with the no proposals meeting the requirements, although the NTIA did not say if they received any bids, even from ICANN. ICANN’s then CEO and president, Rod Beckstrom, also refused to say if ICANN had submitted a bid at their meeting in Costa Rica at the time.
At the time some believe the announcement sent a wake-up call to ICANN telling them they need to get their house in order. This included criticisms from groups that ignored the top level domain consultation process that was ongoing for over five years. These groups such as the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) are now using any available method to lobby the US government to stop the TLD process. And if this means getting their two cents worth of lobbying on unrelated issues to discredit ICANN, then so be it.
Last year, in anticipation of the contract’s expiration, NTIA consulted with Internet stakeholders, both domestic and international, on how best to enhance the performance of these services. Based on input from the global community, NTIA added new requirements. Those include a clear separation between the policy development associated with the IANA services, and implementation by the IANA functions contractor; a robust company-wide conflict of interest policy; a heightened respect for local national law; and a series of consultation and reporting requirements to increase transparency and accountability.
The process used over the last year, and the resulting new contract requirements, are tailored to ensure respect for the relevant global multistakeholder policy processes. This is consistent with NTIA’s belief that the multistakeholder model is the most effective way to address Internet issues, and further internationalizes the IANA functions.
The IANA functions involve the global coordination of unique identifiers that keep the Internet running smoothly. These include (1) the coordination of the assignment of technical Internet protocol parameters; (2) the administration of certain responsibilities associated with the Internet Domain Name Service (DNS) root zone management; (3) the allocation of Internet numbering resources; and (4) other services related to the management of the ARPA and INT top-level domains (TLDs).
The new contract term begins 1 October 2012. “This is the longest IANA functions contract we’ve ever had, running for a period of three years with two 2-year renewal options,” said Akram Atallah, ICANN President and Chief Executive Officer. “This contract reflects the input of the stakeholders from around the globe and serves as an affirmation of support for ICANN and the multi-stakeholder model.”
“We are honoured by the awarding of this contract and we are committed to performing the IANA functions at the highest possible level,” said Jamie Hedlund, Vice President of North America. “We look forward to continuing our work with the multi-stakeholder community to ensure that we operate effectively, transparently and in the global public interest.”