IANA Stewardship Transition Update from ICANN-53

I would like to update you on the IANA transition, including important events that took place at the 53rd ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires.

Just before the ICANN meeting began, the IANA Coordination Group (ICG) held a 2-day in person meeting to discuss the latest developments and next steps in the transition process. Of course the IETF and RIR communities had already submitted and harmonized their proposals for the IANA Stewardship transition earlier this year. The good news is that by the time of the ICG meeting, the ICANN community (also known as the “Names community”) had made significant progress on their proposal and, in fact, formally submitted it to the ICG by the end of ICANN 53. The organisations that had chartered this the names work approved the proposal on the last day of the meeting.

The ICG’s next job is to evaluate the names community’s proposal, and to identify any remaining issues or incompatibilities between it and those already submitted that need to be addressed by the operational communities. For the IETF, any required work would be done via the IANAPLAN working group. And, while the most of the IETF’s work has taken place through the WG email list as usual, there is also a placeholder on the upcoming IETF 93 meeting agenda in case an in-person gathering can help the IETF community make progress on any remaining issues.

Once the three proposals from the operational communities have been harmonized, the ICG will assemble them into a complete proposal. It is this proposal that will then be shared by the ICG for public comment. That public comment period is expected to begin at the end of this month, so stay tuned for further news. I will repost the ICG call for comments to IETF-Announce and the ianaplan working group list.

As part of their responsibilities, the ICG will provide an assessment of how the proposed plan supports and enhances the multistakeholder model; maintains the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS; meets the needs and expectations of the global customers and partners of the IANA services; and maintains the openness of the Internet. I am confident that after careful review, the ICG and a broader audience of governments, civil society, business, and tohers will find that the proposal does meet those criteria.

Of course there were a number of other sessions at ICANN 53 around the IANA Stewardship transition. One of these included a presentation by US Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling, whose team initiated and has been coordinating the transition process for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Strickling underlined again the importance of building a complete plan, and having that approved. But he also indicated that once the two first stages of the transition – plan building and approval – have completed, the implementation phase can proceed in parallel in the different communities, perhaps even to full completion on IETF’s part for instance (see in particular page 53 of the transcript). From the IETF perspective this completion is merely an update of our existing Service Level Agreement with ICANN and the expiry of the contract between the U.S. and ICANN; plus any new work that might be necessary due to accommodating the recently completed work from the names community.

One such topic arose during ICANN 53: The names community proposal Annex S includes draft language for the treatment of trademarks. We have discussed the role of IANA trademarks and domain at the IETF on previous occasions. The draft language was in conflict with the RIR proposal, and might also have caused problems for us at the IETF. However, the CWG (Cross-community Working Group) representing the names community clarified that this text is not a part of the actual proposal, and shall be considered indeed only as a draft. This removed the only currently known conflict between the proposals, although, of course, we still need to find an acceptable way for the three communities to handle the trademarks and domains in the implementation phase of the transition.

There were a number of other sessions that touched on the IANA Stewardship Transition, and of course it was a big part of the unofficial hallway conversations we had at ICANN 53.

It is quite clear to me that the operational communities—and the entire Internet community—are applying and have applied a tremendous amount of collaboration, energy, and work into the transition process so far. Given the activities necessary for community review of the complete proposal, it is unlikely that the transition will be complete by September 30th, and so we expect NTIA to extend their contract with ICANN for a short period of time.

In the end, before the process can be successfully completed, the NTIA will need to consider and approve any proposal it receives. And, the operational communities will need to implement the plans they have crafted. While our work is not yet complete, the solid principles and processes we have evolved over time has made preparing for this transition much easier than it otherwise would have been.

Previous blog articles on this topic:

To understand the context of the IANA services from the IETF perspective, you may also want to read the protocol parameters fact sheet and tutorial.

Jari Arkko, IETF Chair

(With contributions from Greg Wood, ISOC Communications and Eliot Lear, Member of the IAB IANA Evolution Program)