Public Comment: Work Continues to Expand Developing Economies Participation in the New gTLD Program

ICANN logoA message from the JAS WG:

The Second Milestone Report [PDF, 282 KB] is being published for public comment today. It deals with a very important issue: how can ICANN assist applicants from developing economies to increase their participation in the new generic Top-Level Domain (New gTLD) Program?

The Second Milestone Report is a continuation of the work done by the Joint Applicant Support Working Group, also known as JAS WG. The group is represented by ICANN community members that have been working together on this initiative since April 2010. The JAS WG was formed following a Resolution from ICANN Board of Directors in Nairobi, on March 2010 that asked ICANN’s stakeholder community “…to develop a sustainable approach to providing support to applicants requiring assistance in applying for and operating new gTLDs.”

Below are some basic aspects of this work. It is important to note that this proposal is under consideration by ICANN community, Board and staff. At this time, no specific Support Development Program is under development. Once a decision is made about the specific elements of this program, ICANN will make the details available.

  1. What is this all about? What is a Milestone Report?

  2. The Second Milestone Report is a document produced by the JAS WG that offers recommendations on how ICANN should develop a sustainable approach to providing support to applicants from developing economies requiring assistance in applying for and operating new gTLDs Registries. The Report proposes initial criteria for qualification as well as several other types of support for ICANN to considered. It has been approved by ALAC, one of the chartering organizations of the working group, but it has not yet been approved by the GNSO.

    The First Milestone Report was published for public comment in November 2011. Both reports present the foundation for ICANN to establish a Support Development Program dedicated to this issue, however, the group intends to further develop this work in the near future.

    This initiative is related to the New gTLD Program, which in the near future will allow entities from around the world to apply for a new generic top-level domain (new gTLD). The applicants passing the evaluation process, will sign a contract with ICANN and run a Registry.

  3. Who is being considered to receive support?

    • Support by and/or for distinct cultural, linguistic and ethnic communities;
    • Service in an under-served language, the presence of which on the Internet has been limited;
    • Operation in an emerging market or nation in a manner that provides genuine local social benefit;
    • Sponsored by non-profit, civil society and non-governmental organizations in a manner consistent with the organizations’ social service mission(s);
    • Operated by local entrepreneur, providing demonstrable social benefit in those geographic areas where market constraints make normal business operations more difficult;
  4. Once the new gTLD applicant interested in receiving support has demonstrated “service to the public interest”, “financial capabilities and need”, one or more of the following characteristics apply:

    All applicants will be expected give a self-declaration that they are eligible to receive support under these criteria.

  5. Who does NOT qualify for support?

    • From a governmental or para-statal applicant (subject to review, see report for details);
    • A TLD string explicitly based, and related to, a trademark (i.e. a “dot brand” TLD);
    • A string that is, or is based on, a geographic name;
    • Sponsors or partners who are bankrupt or under bankruptcy protection;
    • Sponsors or partners who are subject of litigation or criminal investigation;
    • Otherwise incapable of meeting any of the Applicant Guidebook’s due diligence procedures.
  6. According to the JAS WG, the application must NOT have any of the following characteristics:

  7. Who benefits from this? Why is it important?

  8. We all benefit from this initiative. The Internet belongs to all as well as the responsibility to look into effective ways to reduce the Digital Divide, in this particular case, by delivering a sustainable and critical support for applicants from developing economies and looking for a solution not only at the application phase but also through to the initial years of these new Registry operators.

    It is important because the Internet is a virtual real estate that belongs to everyone. Entities from around the world should be able to increase their participation in the top-level expansion. The Working Group also stresses it is important not only to increase participation from developing economies, but also to increase the likelihood of success by these new participants that will be delivering Domain Name Services (DNS).

    The current New gTLD Program, as design, has an evaluation (and several other fees) that are considered high for a significant number of potential participants from around the world. Besides the issue of high fees, the program is in English only and has an evaluation process with criteria and requirements that are quite complex to navigate.

  9. Who is part of this Working Group?

  10. The JAS WG is comprised of highly respected and experienced volunteers from the Supporting Organization and the Advisory Committee. This all-volunteer group teleconferences twice each week, and works through a wiki and mailing lists. These active contributors are located in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, North America and the Caribbean.

  11. What happens next?

    • The general public is strongly encouraged to participate in the public forum that can be found here: insert here the link to the public forum.
    • The JAS WG will hold a session during the upcoming ICANN Singapore Meeting to both explain the Report and receive additional community feedback. This session will have remote participation for the people not able to attend in person. If you are interested in learning more and have questions, please see here the details.
    • The Board, staff, Advisory Committees and Supporting Organizations will review the Second Milestone Report and public comments received.
    • Commentary received regarding the JAS from within recent statements of the Governmental Advisory Committee will be addressed.
    • The Board, upon consideration of the Report and its commentary, may instruct the JAS and staff to develop an implementation program based upon the Report and comments received.
  12. A number of follow up activities are anticipated:

  13. How can one get involved?

  14. One way to get involved is to provide a feedback using ICANN’s public comment forum. This is one of the ways ICANN listens to the global Internet community. You can find the link to this forum here: insert here the link to the public forum. The public forum will close on 29 July 2011.

  15. Where to find more information?

  16. Relevant Resolutions and previous public forum:

    Information about the New gTLD Program

    Archive regarding the WG activities:

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-2-10jun11-en.htm