More than 1,400 members of the global Internet community have gathered this week, both in-person and remotely, to discuss and debate the future of ICANN and Internet governance at the ICANN53 in Buenos Aires.
At issue is transition of control over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which is responsible to operate key databases for global identifiers, namely domain names, IP addresses and protocol numbers.
The transition which was expected to happen in September 2015 may not be possible since the community tasked with developing the model has not completed the transition proposal which must also be taken to congress for verification and comments.
While speaking at the opening ceremony of ICANN 53 Fadi Chehade the ICANN CEO acknowledged that the deadline of 30 September would not be feasible saying
I asked our community leaders, “Based on your plans and what you’re seeing and what you know today, when could that finish?” The answers that are coming back to us seem to indicate that by ICANN 56, which will be back in Latin America in the middle of 2016, a year from today, the contract with the US Government could come to an end.
The CEO introduced a three phased program through which the transition plan would go. The first phase which is the actual plan to transition the IANA contract – “could” be ready in time for ICANN’s next meeting in Dublin at the end of October. The second “phase” will be US government approval, derived from the fact that the Dotcom Act which will come in two forms: sign-off from the US Commerce Department (which holds the IANA contract) which ICANN estimates will take two to three months; and then certification of the plan to the US Congress, and then 30 legislative days for Congress to review it (in reality, 45 to 60 days). The third and last phase of the IANA transition is the implementation of the approved plan which is expected to three months.
The meeting’s 300+ sessions are a continuation of the community’s dedication to a global, secure, stable and resilient Internet, and their hard work in ensuring the success of the IANA stewardship transition.