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Updates From the Cairo ICANN Meeting

Dyn Inc. is attending ICANN in Cairo this month. ICANN is the Internet naming regulatory body. This is one of the three annual meetings that ensure the technical stability of the Internet. As a DNS operator for TLDs (.coop and about a dozen ccTLDs), we attend these meetings to keep current with the technical arena. Registrars and registries are also here to meet and develop new policy. We will be presenting at the ccNSO Tech Day, a workshop for country-code Top Level Domains. Here are some interesting topics being discussed.

New TLD policy

The big news at ICANN is the current developments on the new TLD process. As was unveiled in principle at the last meeting in Paris, a formal, 200 page draft application process has been released for comment. With this new process, anyone with the technical competency and $185,000 USD has a good chance of being awarded the operation of a new top level domain. Several other tests of moral order and string contention must be met. Applicants can submit their proposals starting in Q3 of 2009. Read the announcement at: http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-2-23oct08-en.htm

Fast Track IDN ccTLD Policy

Another hot topic is around the upcoming introduction of a fast-track process for IDN TLDs. A favorite quote from a session here was “long-term policies for [IDN] ccTLDs would take years and there were a lot of counties and territories who expressed the need for getting their TLDs in a faster manner” Contrast that to the IETF’s take on policy development taking as long as it needs. One huge question regarding IDNs is whether there will be a corresponding ISO-3166 (any of the current ccTLDs are based on the ISO 3166-1-alpha-2 list) that has an “official” IDN TLD. Another good one is whether the ASCII ccTLD and the IDN ccTLD will be synced up and how you have IDN.tld and IDNIDN on a large scale. Read the announcement here: http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-3-23oct08-en.htm

Single letter domain names

Another interesting development is the possibility of single letter domains to be registered. Several of the current gTLDs have expressed interest and proposed policy changes to their agreements to support a single letter. In .com, there are few single letter domains which are hold overs from early registrations. Read the announcement at: http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-24oct08-en.htm

Registry/Registrar Separation

With the advent of the new TLD process, it is not unreasonable to anticipate scenarios where the same entity may be the registry, registrar, and registrant. Not too long ago, it was decided that the registry and registrar must be separated (remember Network Solutions and Verisign?). There is a public comment period for this change right now. Read the announcement at: http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-24oct08-en.htm

All in all, it’s an interesting place to see all the current developments. Over the last few years, Internet governance has become much more policy driven and less technology driven. It shows the maturation of the Internet.


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