ICANN: Report: Supporting the Domain Name Industry in Underserved Regions

ICANN logoPurpose (Brief): This is a report about supporting the domain name industry in underserved regions, prepared by ICANN staff for public comment.

Current Status: ICANN has solicited feedback from the community on this topic through a variety of informal avenues. ICANN seeks comment on this report, which summarizes community input to date, with the goal of transforming these discussions into concrete results.

Next Steps: Public comments on this report will be used to determine next steps to support the DNS industry in underserved regions.

Detailed Information

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:

ICANN is exploring ideas and strategies to help promote the domain name industry in regions that have typically been underserved. In particular, ICANN is looking at existing barriers to Registrar Accreditation and operation and considering ways that these challenges might be mitigated. Public comments on this report will be used to determine next steps to support the domain name industry in underserved regions.

As of 16 April 2014, there were 1,010 ICANN-accredited Registrars. Of those, seven are located in Africa. Fourteen are located in the Middle East.

Barriers to participation in domain name industry business in regions such as Africa and the Middle East are complex and some cannot be addressed by ICANN without coordination with the greater community. Many of these issues have been recognized and discussed for some time. ICANN staff is therefore seeking input to determine how best to transform this discussion into concrete results.

Section II: Background:

To encourage participation of developing countries to date, ICANN has, for example, created a fellowship program, participated in many regional meetings and increased the availability of translated materials and interpretation services, engendering participation within ICANN.

Additionally, in August 2012, ICANN announced a new approach to Africa, with the support of AFRINIC, including a new initiative aimed at increasing African participation and influence within ICANN.1 A working group was created and endorsed by the African community members meeting in Prague. The working group included key players in Internet governance from different regions in Africa to contribute to the development of the new strategy. The working group selected Nii Quaynor of Ghana, a well-respected Internet leader in Africa, to lead its efforts. The working group published its report, Enhanced Registry Registrar Relationships, on 13 July 2013 (see Annex at the end of this report).

Members of the domain name industry community in the Middle East community have taken a similar approach. Middle East community members created a working group in early 2013 to develop an ICANN engagement strategy for the Middle East. The Middle East strategy identified domain name industry development as one area where more work needs to be done. ICANN has since co-sponsored a number of DNS Forum events in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.2

ICANN recently held a session on this topic at the March 2014 ICANN meeting in Singapore.3 At the session, ICANN solicited considerable input from attendees about the challenges facing the domain name industry in underserved regions and began discussions to explore potential solutions.

1 See www.icann.org/en/news/announcements/announcement-10aug12-en.htm

2 blog.icann.org/2014/02/first-middle-east-dns-forum-overwhelmingly-successful/ ; www.internetsociety.org/news/africa-domain-name-system-forum-be-held-durban-south-africa-12-13-july-2013

3 singapore49.icann.org/en/schedule/wed-dns-underserved

Section III: Document and Resource Links: 

The attached report [PDF, 601 KB] includes a table that summarizes input that ICANN has received regarding the challenges that face the domain name industry in underserved regions. The table is by no means exhaustive, and ICANN staff welcome input on any issue that you believe poses a barrier to domain name industry growth and participation in underserved regions.

The table identifies the relevant issue, notes where the requirement lies in relevant policies or contracts, lists solutions that have been proposed, and explores how such solutions might be implemented.

As background, the report also includes the July 2013 report, Enhanced Registry Registrar Relationships, developed by Africa Strategy working group.

ICANN Seeks Public Comment: Supporting the DNS Industry in Underserved Regions

Comment / Reply Periods (*)

  • Comment Open Date: 14 May 2014
  • Comment Close Date: 13 June 2014 – 23:59 UTC
  • Reply Open Date: 14 June 2014
  • Reply Close Date: 30 June 2014 – 23:59 UTC

Important Information Links

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