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DCA fails .africa evaluation

Kevin Murphy, February 18, 2016, Domain Policy

DotConnectAfrice application for the .africa gTLD has, as expected, failed its ICANN evaluation for want of government support.
The official decision (pdf) was handed down overnight.
According to the Extended Evaluation panel, DCA’s “required documentation of support or non-objection was either not provided or did not meet the criteria”.
In other words, DCA did not have a shred of support for its controversial application.
For gTLDs representing multinational regions, support or non-objection is required from 60% of the governments in that region.
In addition, there cannot be more than one objection from a government in that region.
Not only did DCA not have any support, it also had over a dozen governmental objections.
The company had relied on support letters from the African Union Commission and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, both of which have been retracted.
The AU and most African governments support rival, successful applicant ZACR.
ZACR signed its .africa registry contract with ICANN in March 2014, but its bid has been kept in limbo while DCA has exploited ICANN appeals processes to delay delegation.
Most recently, DCA sued ICANN, despite signing away its right to sue when it applied.
DCA was originally rejected due to Governmental Advisory Committee advice, before it had completed evaluation.
But the company won an Independent Review Process ruling stating that ICANN erred by accepting the advice with no explanation, compelling ICANN to put the DCA application back into evaluation.
After a six-month review, the Geographic Names Panel has now concluded that, duh, nobody supports DCA’s bid.
ICANN has now changed the status of DCA’s application from “Not Approved” to “Will Not Proceed”.
Oddly, and possibly incorrectly, this status cites the GAC advice as the reason for the failure, rather than the fact that DCA failed its evaluation.
Per ICANN practice, no application is truly dead until the applicant withdraws.