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ICANN preparing for ONE HUNDRED registry back-ends

The number of gTLD registry back-end providers could more than double during the next new gTLD application round, ICANN’s board of directors has been told.

There are currently about 40 registry services providers serving the gTLD industry, but ICANN is preparing for this to leap to as many as 100 when it launches its Registry Service Provider Evaluation Program for the 2026 application round.

“We’re preparing, I think, for roughly a hundred or so applications which will include the 40 existing providers that we’re aware of, and another 60 or so is sort of our rough market sizing,” Russ Weinstein, a VP at ICANN’s Global Domains Division, told the board during a meeting in Paris last week.

The number is based on what ICANN is preparing to be able to handle, rather than confirmed applicants to the RSP program, it seems.

“We are hoping to see some diversification and new entrants into the space,” Weinstein said.

Board member Edmon Chung elaborated that he expects most of the new entrants to be ccTLD registries hoping to break into the gTLD market.

“We can expect a few more ccTLD registries that might be be interested,” he said. “We’re probably not expecting a completely new startup that just comes in and becomes a registry, but beyond the 40, probably a few more ccTLDs.”

ccTLD registries already active in the gTLD market following the 2012 application round include Nominet, Nic.at and AFNIC, which tend to serve clients that are based in the same timezone and use the same native language.