The launch window for new gTLDs may have just got pushed back another month or two, following the announcement of a new 42-day comment period on registry and registrar contracts.
But ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade said he’s looking at ways to streamline the process to offset the delays.
During the public forum in Beijing yesterday, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade said that he’d cancelled a scheduled April 20 meeting of its board of directors, during which the new agreements were targeted for approval.
Instead, new versions of the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement and new gTLDs base Registry Agreement will be posted for public comment next week.
As these are expected to be the final versions of both documents, they’re also expected to have full comment periods of 42 days — 21 for comments and 21 for replies.
“I believe that putting the last version of RAA for 2013 out for full public comment process is actually strengthening that agreement,” Chedhade said today. “It makes it an agreement of the community.”
For the Registry Agreement, Chehade said talks with registries are going well and that he hopes to have a version ready for public comment agreed with negotiators in less than a week.
Assuming an April 19 start, that puts the earliest possible date for ICANN board approval at May 31, assuming the board waits for the comment period to end before giving it the rubber stamp.
Before the contracts are approved, they can’t be signed by registries and registrars, and before they are signed new gTLD applicants cannot progress to the final pre-launch stages of the delegation process.
But Chehade is weighing an idea put forward during the public forum by Donuts’ Jon Nevett: why not allow applicants to complete pre-delegation technical testing before contract signing?
“We could potentially do something about advancing this step ahead of contracting, finding a way to start pre-delegation testing before contracting is done,” Chehade said.