ICANN has officially confirmed that it does not intend to launch the new top-level domains program at its meeting in San Francisco next month.
The news came just one day after the organization stopped accepting sponsorship deals, at the new controversially higher rate, for the meeting.
In a blog post, ICANN’s Jamie Hedlund said that a vote on the new TLD program would not be possible due to the upcoming consultation with the Government Advisory Committee in Brussels.
In addition to the Brussels consultation, the bylaws-defined consultation will take place on 17 March, the day before the Silicon Valley–San Francisco Board Meeting. Because of the timing of the bylaws consultation, the Board will not approve or announce the new gTLD program at that Board Meeting.
Now, the timing of this announcement could just be a coincidence, it could be related to ICANN’s fast-approaching deadline for publishing meeting documents, but the fact that it came the day after the sponsorship deadline for SF passed raised an eyebrow chez DI.
ICANN has known about the timing of the GAC consultation since at least January 25, when its board of directors approved the March 17 schedule.
With March 18 no longer a possibility for the Applicant Guidebook getting approved, what does that mean for the new TLDs timetable?
Some observers believe that we’ll have to wait for the ICANN meeting in Amman, Jordan, in June, which could see the first-round application window open in October.
I’m not convinced we’ll have to wait that long. It seems possible that ICANN will eschew the fanfare of a public meeting and approve the final draft of the Guidebook over the phone whenever it’s ready.
The first new TLDs are expected to go live on the internet approximately 15 months after the Guidebook gets the nod.