In the earnings call today, Verisign (VRSN) announced that it was in “in the final stages of drafting the new Root Zone Maintainer Agreement with ICANN “to perform this Root Zone Maintainer role as a commercial service for ICANN upon the successful transition of the IANA functions.”
“To ensure that root operations continue to perform at the same high level during the expected 10-year term of the Root Zone Maintainer Agreement, ICANN and VeriSign are in discussions to extend the term of the .com Registry Agreement to coincide with the expected 10-year term of the Root Zone Maintainer Agreement, ensuring that the terms of the two agreements are the same, will promote the stability of root operations, and will remove potential instability that might otherwise arise if the terms did not coincide.”
The current contract to operate the .Com registry expires in 2018.
Verisign state that “while ICANN and Verisign are in the final stage of preparing the Root Zone Maintainer Agreement and the .com Registry Agreement extension documents, there are several important steps that still need to occur including completing the drafting of the agreements, posting them for public comment and obtaining approvals from ICANN’s and Verisign’s Board of Directors.
Additionally, under the Cooperative Agreement, we may not enter into the contemplated extension of the .com Registry Agreement without the prior written approval of the Department of Commerce. If the department does not approve the extension, then the current .com Registry Agreement will remain unchanged.
- Verisign finalizing negotiating an agreement with ICANN that would establish a new 10-year Root Zone Maintainer Agreement and link it to a 10-year extension of the .Com registry agreement, both of which would commence on the date of the IANA transition. (So, if the transition occurs on October 1, 2016, the expiration date of the .Com registry agreement would change from November 30, 2018 to October 1, 2026.)
- The deal requires approval of the ICANN and Verisign Boards, and then of the NTIA.
- The contracts will be subject to public comment.
- The deal does not lift the .Com price freeze; Verisign retains its existing rights to petition for pricing relief if market conditions change but does not grant any automatic price increases to Verisign as in the previous Verisign contract to operate the .com registry and that is in the current contract to operate the .net registry.