The Internet’s global multistakeholder community has made tremendous progress in its work to develop a proposal to transition the historic stewardship role NTIA has played related to Internet’s domain name system (DNS).
When we announced our intent in March 2014 to complete the privatization of the DNS, we noted that the base period of our contract with ICANN to perform technical functions related to the DNS, known as the IANA functions, expired on September 30, 2015. However, it has become increasingly apparent over the last few months that the community needs time to complete its work, have the plan reviewed by the U.S. Government and then implement it if it is approved.
Accordingly, in May we asked the groups developing the transition documents how long it would take to finish and implement their proposals. After factoring in time for public comment, U.S. Government evaluation and implementation of the proposals, the community estimated it could take until at least September 2016 to complete this process. In response to their feedback, we informed Congress on Friday that we plan to extend our IANA contract with ICANN for one year to September 30, 2016. Beyond 2016, we have options to extend the contract for up to three additional years if needed.
This one-year extension will provide the community with the time it needs to finish its work. The groups are already far along in planning the IANA transition and are currently taking comments on their IANA transition proposals. As we indicated in a recent Federal Register notice, we encourage all interested stakeholders to engage and weigh in on the proposals.
In preparation for the implementation phase of the IANA stewardship transition, NTIA also asked Verisign and ICANN to submit a proposal detailing how best to remove NTIA’s administrative role associated with root zone management, which the groups working on the transition were not asked to address. We asked Verisign and ICANN to submit a proposal detailing how best to do this in a manner that maintains the security, stability and resiliency of the DNS. Under the current root zone management system, Verisign edits and distributes the root zone file after it has received authorization to do so from NTIA. Verisign and ICANN have developed a proposal that outlines a technical plan and testing regime for phasing out the largely clerical role NTIA currently plays in this process. The testing will occur in a parallel environment that will not disrupt the current operation of the root zone management system.
These developments will help ensure that the IANA transition will be done in a manner that preserves the security and stability of the DNS.