ICANN has been awarded the contract to run IANA for another three to seven years.
It’s almost eight months since the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration put the contract up for rebid and four months after ICANN’s initial proposal was deemed unsatisfactory.
“This is the longest IANA functions contract we’ve ever had, running for a period of three years with two 2-year renewal options,” said Akram Atallah, ICANN’s new interim CEO, in a statement.
The new contract starts October 1.
A cynic might note that the renewal, which was of course expected, comes just a day after the departure of former CEO Rod Beckstrom. That cynic might also suggest that the timing was deliberate.
Former CEO Rod Beckstrom tweeted tonight that his last act as CEO was to sign the new contract yesterday.
The IANA contract gives ICANN its powers over the domain name root system and IP address allocation.
More on the story when we have it…
ICANN’s key contract with the US government is open for proposals again, a month after ICANN was told its first bid wasn’t up to the expected standards.
The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration yesterday posted a revised request for proposals, looking for a new IANA contractor.
The IANA contract is what gives ICANN its operational powers over the domain name system root database.
Based on a quick comparison of the new RFP with the old, there have been few notable, substantial changes, giving little indication of why ICANN’s previous response fell short.
The RFP has a strong emphasis on accountability, transparency, separation of ICANN/IANA powers, conflicts of interest and the “global public interest”, as before.
While many of the requirements have been edited, clarified or shifted around, I haven’t been able to spot any major additions or subtractions.
The RFP now envisages a contract running from October 1, 2012 until September 30, 2015, with two two-year renewal options, bringing the expiry date to September 30, 2019.
The deadline for responses is May 31.
The current contract had been due to expire at the end of March but the NTIA unexpected extended it by six months just before ICANN’s meeting in Costa Rica kicked off last month.
The NTIA said it canceled the first RFP “because we received no proposals that met the requirements” but neither it nor ICANN has yet provided any specifics.
Over a month ago, at an ICANN press conference in Costa Rica, CEO Rod Beckstrom said: “We were invited to have a debriefing with [the NTIA] to learn more about this. Following that discussion we will share any information we are allowed to share.”
Since then, no additional information has been forthcoming.
This weekend’s shock news that ICANN’s bid to renew its IANA contract with the US government failed is still without an official, detailed explanation, but ICANN may soon reveal more specifics.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said Saturday that no bidder for the IANA contract had met its requirements, and that it was canceling the RFP until a later date.
It extended ICANN’s management of IANA for another six months.
CEO Rod Beckstrom said at a press conference here at the public meeting in Costa Rica today that ICANN cannot comment on the reasons its bid was rejected for now.
However, it’s going to meet with the NTIA soon to discuss the matter and may issue an update later.
“We were invited to have a debriefing with them to learn more about this,” Beckstrom said. “Following that discussion we will share any information we are allowed to share.”
Here in San Jose, there are several theories floating around the show floor.
The first hypothesis, which was popular on Saturday but which since seems to have fallen out of favor, is that it was a deliberate attempt to, in the words of one attendee, “fuck with” Beckstrom.
His contract expires in early July, and it was speculated that the NTIA would prefer to deal with his successor on the IANA contract, forcing him to leave the organization on a bum note.
I don’t really buy that. I can’t see the NTIA playing personality politics to that extent, not with the future of internet governance on the line.
The other theory doing the rounds is that ICANN fell foul of some rather esoteric US procurement guidelines – that the NTIA was legally unable to approve its bid.
Others speculate that ICANN just submitted a really crappy response to the RFP, or a response that failed to take the NTIA’s requirements seriously enough.
This seems more likely.
Whatever the reason, the way the news broke – apparently catching ICANN off-guard as much as anybody else – certainly suggests that the NTIA either screwed up its communications or that it wanted to make one of its trademark pre-show sabre-rattling statements.
Hundreds of stakeholders are gathering in San Jose, Costa Rica today for the first official day of ICANN’s 43rd public meeting.
While the news that the US government has deferred the renewal of ICANN’s IANA contract for another six months has set the most tongues wagging so far, there’s a lot more going on.
In this in-depth DomainIncite PRO ICANN 43 preview, we take a look at:
- Why many attendees think the shock IANA news is a personal slight against ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom.
- How protecting the Olympic and Red Cross trademarks could lead to the new gTLD application window being extended.
- Why the Governmental Advisory Committee is pushing for greater powers to reject new gTLD applications.
- Which companies have applied for the potentially lucrative Trademark Clearinghouse contract (and which one is our favorite to win), and why unanswered questions have the IP community worried.
- What criteria new gTLDs will be judged against after they launch.
- Why critical talks between ICANN and domain name registrars could lead to the retail price of domain names doubling, and why that probably won’t happen any time soon.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has dealt a stunning blow to ICANN in its bid to carry on running the internet’s critical IANA functions.
The NTIA said this hour that it has canceled the RFP for the new IANA contract “because we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community”
NTIA thinks that ICANN’s bid was unsatisfactory, in other words.
The NTIA said:
Based on the input received from stakeholders around the world, NTIA added new requirements to the IANA functions’ statement of work, including the need for structural separation of policymaking from implementation, a robust companywide conflict of interest policy, provisions reflecting heightened respect for local country laws, and a series of consultation and reporting requirements to increase transparency and accountability to the international community.
The government may cancel any solicitation that does not meet the requirements. Accordingly, we are cancelling this RFP because we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community. The Department intends to reissue the RFP at a future date to be determined (TBD) so that the requirements of the global internet community can be served.
However, it has extended ICANN’s current IANA contract until September 30, 2012.
This means ICANN still has its IANA powers over the DNS root zone, at least for another six months.
While the NTIA has not yet revealed where ICANN’s bid for the contract fell short, it is known that the NTIA and ICANN’s senior management did not exactly see eye to eye on certain issues.
One of the key sticking points is the NTIA’s demand that the IANA contractor – ICANN – must document that all new gTLD delegations are in “the global public interest”.
This demand is a way to prevent another controversy such as the approval of .xxx a year ago, which the Governmental Advisory Committee objected to on the grounds that it was not the “the global public interest”.
Coupled with newly strengthened Applicant Guidebook powers for the GAC to object to new gTLD application, the IANA language could be described as “if the GAC objects, you must reject”.
If the GAC were to declare .gay or .catholic “not in the global public interest”, it would be pretty tough for ICANN to prove otherwise.
But ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom has previously stated that he believed such rules imposed by the US government would undermine the multistakeholder process.
He told the NTIA last June that the draft IANA contract language stood to “rewrite” ICANN’s own process when it came to approving new gTLDs.
The IANA functions contract should not be used to rewrite the policy and implementation process adopted through the bottom-up decision-making process. Not only would this undermine the very principle of the multi-stakeholder model, it would be inconsistent with the objective of more clearly distinguishing policy development from operational implementation by the IANA functions operator.
Since then, language requiring ICANN to prove “consensus” on new gTLD delegations was removed, but language requiring it to demonstrate the “global public interest” remains.
The game is bigger than petty squabbling about new gTLDs, however.
The US government is worried about International Telecommunications Union treaty talks later this year, which many countries want to use to push for government-led internet governance.
A strong GAC, backed by an enforceable IANA contract, is one way to field concerns that ICANN is not responsive enough to government interests.
It’s tempting to view the deferral of the IANA renewal as an attempt to wait out Beckstrom’s tenure as CEO – he’s set to leave at the end of June – and deal with a more compliant replacement instead.