IANA Stewardship Transition Almost There

A plan developed by the international internet community that would see global stewardship of the key technical internet functions performed by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) transitioned to the global multistakeholder community has been submitted to the US government for its approval, ICANN announced Thursday at the 55th ICANN public meeting being held in Marrakech, Morocco.”This plan is a testament to the hard work of the global internet community and the strength of the multistakeholder model,” said Board Chair Dr. Stephen D. Crocker, who transmitted the plan on behalf of the global community. “The plan has now been sent to the U.S. Government for its review, and assuming it meets the necessary criteria, we will have reached an historic moment in the history of the internet.”The plan provides a comprehensive package to transition the U.S. Government’s stewardship of these technical functions, called the IANA, which are critical to the internet’s smooth operation. It also proposes ways to enhance ICANN’s accountability as a fully independent organisation. The transition is the final step in the long-anticipated privatisation of the internet’s Domain Name System (DNS), first outlined when ICANN was incorporated in 1998.The ICANN Board received the package from the community during its 55th public meeting in Morocco, and today transmitted it to the U.S. National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA).On 14 March 2014, NTIA announced its desire to transition its stewardship of the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community. The package is the result of an inclusive, global discussion amongst representatives from government, large and small business, technical experts, civil society, researchers, academics and end users.”The internet community has exhibited remarkable dedication to the IANA stewardship transition because we know just how important it is to complete,” said Alissa Cooper, Chair of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) that coordinated the development of the transition proposal. “Internet users the world over stand to benefit from its stability, security, and accountability enhancements to internet governance once the proposal takes effect.”The global internet community has worked tirelessly to develop a plan that meets NTIA’s criteria, logging more than 600 meetings and calls, more than 32,000 mailing list exchanges and more than 800 working hours.It is expected it will take the US government around three months to evaluate the plan, and, if approved, “the transition of the IANA functions to the Internet community should occur on 30 September 2016,” writes Paul Wilson, APNIC Director General, on the APNIC blog.The only real stumbling block is that some conservative Republican senators including presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz are not happy with the proposal.The package combines the technical requirements of a transition coordinated by the IANA Stewardship Transition Group (ICG) and enhancements to ICANN’s accountability identified by the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability). The two groups were composed of volunteers representing a broad range of interests from the wider multistakeholder internet community.”This plan enjoys the broadest possible support from this very diverse community and I’m confident it will meet NTIA’s criteria,” said Thomas Rickert, one of the CCWG-Accountability co-Chairs. “The work of this group shows just how well the inclusive multistakeholder approach is working.”The U.S. Government will now review the package to ensure that it meets NTIA’s criteria. If approved, implementation of the plan is expected to be completed prior to the expiration of the contract between NTIA and ICANN in September 2016.