[tag]ICANN[/tag] has been re-awarded the [tag]IANA[/tag] contract for one year with a stated four extensions, giving the US overseeing organisation top-level management of the [tag]Internet[/tag] until 2011.
The decision is not exactly a huge shock. The US government made some noises about perhaps looking at other people taking on the job, but it was widely interpreted as a bargaining chip with ICANN, and that it seems is exactly what happened.
The important thing about the contract is that it has introduced timelines – most significantly that any change taking longer than seven days has its own separate and visible process. Plus ICANN has now signed up to the e-IANA software that should help automate the vital changes at the top of the Internet.
What does IANA actually do? Actually, ICANN’s press notice sums it up pretty well: “The IANA function includes Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, as well as root server system management functions.”
To people that know nothing of the technical side of the Internet, this basically means the fundamental, top-level changes made to the Internet both in everyday maintenance and occasionally in interations of Net evolution.
ICANN CEO Paul Twomey was of course chuffed. “In executing this contract the Department of Commerce has confirmed that ICANN is uniquely positioned to perform this function,” is the line. “It means that ICANN remains the organisation responsible for a range of functions that are vital to the daily operation of the Domain Name System (DNS) and hence the Internet.”
It certainly demonstrates that ICANN is here to stay. The crucial contract however remains the NTIA’s Memorandum of Understanding with ICANN, due for renewal on 30 September. That’s the big one.
Update: Apparently I’m worthy of quoting by The New York Times. Their story yesterday on IANA, “Overseer of Domain Names Renews Contract“, bizarrely sticks me in at para four. “The contract renewal ‘certainly demonstrates that Icann is here to stay,’ said Kieren McCarthy, a British writer who has applied for a seat on Icannâ€™s board…” – using a quote taken off this blog.
I’m not sure whether to be flattered or concerned. There are lots of people that should be used as sources before me: Milton Mueller, Paul Twomey, Emily Taylor, Paul Kane, Michael Froomkin. It must have been a tight deadline situation and grabbing a blog comment much easier and faster.
I’m also a little concerned that the NomCom application might become a millstone around my neck. At least in media terms. Especially since Wendy was called up apparently for the same reason – having applied to become an ICANN Board member.
I’ve heard not a sausage about or from the NomCom btw. Is it really going to be the case that I hear nothing at all until the decision is made, and then get a formal email? I suspect it is.