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Domain Name News – U.S. Government to Transition Domain Name Functions

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U.S. Government To Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has announced “its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community.”

NTIA’s responsibility includes “the procedural role of administering changes to the authoritative root zone file – the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains – as well as serving as the historic steward of the DNS.” NTIA has a contract with ICANN to carry out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions. The contract expires on September 30, 2015.

Going back to ICANN’s beginnings in the late 1990’s, the U.S. had always intended that its role in the IANA functions would be temporary.

NTIA indicated that ICANN is “the appropriate party to convene the multistakeholder process to develop the transition plan”, and seeks a proposal that will:

  • Support and enhance the multistakeholder model;
  • Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS;
  • Meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of the IANA services; and,
  • Maintain the openness of the Internet.

Importantly, NTIA stated explicitly that it “will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.”

The announcement has been welcomed by many in the community, including the leaders of a number of Internet technical organizations.

It can be expected that the topic will receive a great deal of attention at the ICANN meetings to be held in Singapore on March 23-27.

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Timeline

  • Sun, Mar 23 – Thu, Mar 27: ICANN meetings in Singapore
  • Sun, Jun 22 – Thu, Jun 26: ICANN meetings in London

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