ICANN released tonight a 27 page report entitled the “New gTLD Program Reviews and Assessments Draft Work Plan” (Draft Work Plan) which lays out the work required prior to initiating a subsequent application period for the New gTLD Program, taking into account the assessments anticipated in development of the Program.”
“As of this writing, 404 new gTLDs have been delegated. A total of 1,168 applicants have been invited to contracting. Of those applications in string contention sets, 49% remain subject to contention resolution procedures, forecast to be completed by the third quarter of 2016.”
“ICANN anticipates contracting to be completed by the end of 2016, and pre-delegation testing by early 2017, before completing all the new delegations by mid-2017.”
“The gTLD Applicant Guidebook also provided that ICANN’s goal is to launch subsequent gTLD application rounds as quickly as possible, noting that the exact timing would be based on experiences gained and changes required after the completion of the first round, and stating a goal for the next application round to begin within one year of the close of the application submission period for the current round.”
Based on the timetable as ICANN has laid out in the Draft plan that would mean the soonest the second round or the next time ICANN would open the application period for new gTLD’s again would not open until Mid-2018 or basically 4 years from now.
The Draft Work Plan gives some details of all the studies and reports that ICANN will have to review, put out for public comment review the public comments before opening the second round and having reviewed all of them, 4 years seems to be an aggressive timeline, if anything and would only be met if all time tables are hit, all reports and studies come back without issues which seem unlikely, how complicated the roll out of the first round of the new gTLD program has been.
Many cities have chatted about applying in the second round as well as some .Brand applicants which may put pressure in ICANN to open the period quicker, yet those new gTLD applicants in the first round may not be so eager to see a second round and may take a defensive posture taken by .Com stakeholders did in the new gTLD program.
Of course keep in mind ICANN is coupling all of while the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is the co-signator on ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, is in the process of transitioning its stewardship of the IANA functions to the multistakeholder community during this same 4 year period and you can see the second round can easily get pushed back quite a bit.
Here are just some of the work ICANN says needs to be accomplished before the 2nd round opens:
Program Implementation Reviews:
“New gTLD Program implementation represented significant work by members of the community (including applicants), multiple service providers, and ICANN staff. Having been part of an application round under the Program, each of these stakeholders has experiences gained and input to offer for future rounds.
It is anticipated that experience gained from these processes will be captured from these stakeholders to serve as a basis for the consideration of future procedures.
In performing these reviews, ICANN staff will self-assess the execution of Program processes along a set of dimensions (further discussed in Section 2.2 of this Work Plan). The reviews will also incorporate feedback from evaluators, and input from the applicants and community, as appropriate. To the extent feasible, analysis of available Program metrics will be used to inform the reviews, which will enable establishment of a basis of comparison going forward.
To help streamline ICANN’s ability to contribute implementation review inputs to design of a future process, this Work Plan identifies a proposed set of focus areas:
Examine the financial performance of the Program and undertake projections to develop subsequent application fee amounts, corresponding refund structure and processes, as well as identifying cost areas in Program operation and identifying ways to enhance financial management as needed.
Examine the objectives, approach, and criteria used in the Technical and Financial evaluation processes and develop proposed updates to these processes. Design updates may take into account use of Registry Service Providers by applicants, and individual versus portfolio application processing.
Examine the current approach and mechanisms for mechanisms supporting TLD continuity and develop proposed updates to
To provide for registrant protection in the event of a failure of registry critical functions, all gTLD applicants were required to obtain a Continuing Operations Instrument, either a letter of credit or a cash escrow deposit. Identifying and managing such instruments has proven complex both for applicants and for ICANN, and the effectiveness of the current approach should be assessed to determine whether alternatives should be explored.
Examine the phases and timelines of the application evaluation process and develop an effective change management framework for the Program. This would include rules and procedures for application change requests, as well as handling of emerging issues (e.g., name collision). Recognizing that not all potential issues can be anticipated, change management practices can be built into the Program to provide support and consistency in the handling of emerging issues.
Examine the goals, standards and procedures used in the formal objection process and develop proposed updates to Objection process these processes. This includes consideration of the objection process, independent objector role, objection timelines, mediation/self-resolution steps, and related areas.
Communications & customer service
Examine the communications objectives and activities executed by ICANN for various stages of the Program, including consideration of outreach strategies, educational resources and tools made available, and support for regional and language considerations. This also includes examination of the procedures, tools, and resources used for supporting applicants and facilitating their communications with ICANN throughout the application and evaluation processes.
To guide and help support a consistent analysis of each area, a set of pre-determined dimensions has also been identified for consideration. To guide the analysis, each review areas above will be looked at along the following dimensions:
1. Efficiency: to what extent resources (time, effort, cost) were well used for the intended purpose.
2. Effectiveness: to what degree the process was successful in producing desired results/achieving objectives.
3. Fairness: to what extent decision-making was consistent, objective, and adhered to documented policies and procedures.
4. Predictability: to what extent the Program process/procedures/timelines provided predictability.
5. Security and stability: to what extent the process/procedure/framework supported security and stability of the DNS.
6. Alignment to policy and implementation recommendations: to what extent the Program criteria, requirements, and execution adhered to GNSO policy recommendations and the Applicant Guidebook.
The identification and review of these areas of program implementation are an initial phase that will lead to working with the community to develop and design a subsequent application process. Depending on the outcome of the assessment, one or more focus areas may become a set of parallel projects with dedicated project leaders, to take each set of issues through consultation with the relevant experts, community participants, staff, and vendors, and lead the process for discussion of proposals and solutions with the community. For example, the consultation and expertise necessary on financial evaluation would differ from that needed to consider communications and outreach, and these streams of work could proceed in parallel.
A review of the Program for security and stability impact is a previous commitment based on GAC advice and other discussions. Specifically, ICANN committed to review the effects of the New gTLD Program on the operations of the root zone system, and to postpone delegations in a second round until it is determined that the delegations in the first round have not jeopardized the root zone system’s security or stability.
Meeting this requirement will include substantial data analysis as well as consultation with RSSAC/root server operators and SSAC. This will support consideration of the rate of change, coordination, and monitoring measures for the first round of gTLD delegations, with the objective of identifying whether any new considerations should be applied to support root stability as the program moves forward.
Competition, Consumer Trust, and Consumer Choice Review:
The Affirmation of Commitments was signed in September 2009 by the U.S. Department of Commerce and ICANN. It provided for periodic review of four key ICANN objectives and progress toward achieving them:
• Ensuring accountability, transparency and the interests of global Internet users;
• Preserving security, stability and resiliency of the DNS;
• Promoting competition, consumer trust and consumer choice; and
• Whois policy.