12 June 2018

US government asks whether IANA transition should be reversed

The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has asked for views on whether the handover of domain name system functions from the agency to a multi-stakeholder model should be “unwound”.

The NTIA  published a request for public comments in the Federal Register on June 5 and has since  extended the comment period from July 2 to July 17 in response to requests for additional time to provide feedback.

In 2016, the NTIA’s contract to perform core elements of the internet, including managing the domain name system, expired. Responsibility for these features, known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, and the oversight of ICANN  was handed to a coalition consisting of internet stakeholders comprising businesses, academics, technical experts, governments and others.

Now, the NTIA has issued its “International Internet Policy Priorities” for 2018. The agency said it has made it a top priority to “encourage growth and innovation for the internet and internet-enabled economy”.

In one question, the NTIA asked whether the multi-stakeholder approach continues to support an environment for the internet to grow and thrive, with further questions asking for details on the effectiveness of the model.

The NTIA then questioned “Should the IANA stewardship transition be unwound? If yes, why and how? If not, why not?”

It went on to ask what the NTIA’s priorities in relation to ICANN should be.

It concluded: “These comments will help inform NTIA to identify priority issues and help NTIA effectively leverage its resources and expertise to address those issues.”

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14 March 2016   ICANN has submitted a plan that will lead to the transition of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority contract away from the US government to a global multi-stakeholder “community”.
15 August 2016   ICANN is seeking comments on its proposal to transition the stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority to a global multistakeholder community.