If the US government shuts down tonight, would that delay the delegation of new gTLDs?
Probably not, from what I gather.
For reasons beyond the ken of most sane people*, the US legislature is currently deadlocked on a bill that would provide the funds to keep the executive wing of the government running.
It’s looking increasingly likely that the government is to shut down.
That’s a big deal for a whole range of important reasons, obviously, but it also has implications for new gTLD applicants.
The DNS root zone belongs to the US government, remember.
It’s managed by Verisign and ICANN’s IANA department suggests appropriate changes, but without USG the tripartite relationship that enables new TLDs to be delegated falls apart.
Without the NTIA in the mix, ICANN can make all the root zone change requests it wants and Verisign lacks the authority to execute them.
So there’s a reason to be worried if you’re a new gTLD applicant. If the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is out of the office for an indeterminate period, you may be looking at more delays.
However, it looks like the NTIA may have got that covered.
According to the Department of Commerce’s “Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations”, (pdf) a “Telecomm. Policy Specialist”, tasked with “Emergency protection of internet management (ICANN)” is on the list of “Excepted Positions”.
I gather that this means that there’s going to be an NTIA person working during any possible shutdown to manage root zone changes, including gTLD delegations.
* It’s been several years since I lived in the States, and my grasp of the nuance of American political life has waned accordingly, but I gather the shutdown is somehow related to protecting insurance companies’ profit margins. Or defending the constitutional right to get better healthcare than people poorer than yourself. Something like that.