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<nettime> NTIA Announces Intent to Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions

NTIA Announces Intent to Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions
March 14, 2014

WASHINGTON ??? To support and enhance the multistakeholder model of Internet 
policymaking and governance, the U.S. Commerce Department???s National 
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announces 
its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global 
multistakeholder community.  As the first step, NTIA is asking the 
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to convene 
global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role 
played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet???s domain name system 

NTIA???s responsibility includes the procedural role of administering 
changes to the authoritative root zone file ??? the database containing the 
lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains ??? as well as serving 
as the historic steward of the DNS.  NTIA currently contracts with ICANN 
to carry out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions and 
has a Cooperative Agreement with Verisign under which it performs related 
root zone management functions.  Transitioning NTIA out of its role marks 
the final phase of the privatization of the DNS as outlined by the U.S. 
Government in 1997.

???The timing is right to start the transition process,??? said Assistant 
Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Lawrence E. 
Strickling.  ???We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the 
global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan.???

ICANN is uniquely positioned, as both the current IANA functions 
contractor and the global coordinator for the DNS, as the appropriate 
party to convene the multistakeholder process to develop the transition 
plan.  NTIA has informed ICANN that it expects that in the development of 
the proposal, ICANN will work collaboratively with the directly affected 
parties, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the 
Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Society (ISOC), the 
Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), top level domain name operators, 
VeriSign, and other interested global stakeholders.

NTIA has communicated to ICANN that the transition proposal must have 
broad community support and address the following four principles:

Support and enhance the multistakeholder model;
Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS;
Meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of the 
IANA services; and,
Maintain the openness of the Internet.
Consistent with the clear policy expressed in bipartisan resolutions of 
the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (S.Con.Res.50 and 
H.Con.Res.127), which affirmed the United States support for the 
multistakeholder model of Internet governance, NTIA will not accept a 
proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an 
inter-governmental organization solution.

>From the inception of ICANN, the U.S. Government and Internet stakeholders 
envisioned that the U.S. role in the IANA functions would be temporary. 
The Commerce Department???s June 10, 1998 Statement of Policy stated that 
the U.S. Government ???is committed to a transition that will allow the 
private sector to take leadership for DNS management.???  ICANN as an 
organization has matured and taken steps in recent years to improve its 
accountability and transparency and its technical competence.  At the same 
time, international support continues to grow for the multistakeholder 
model of Internet governance as evidenced by the continued success of the 
Internet Governance Forum and the resilient stewardship of the various 
Internet institutions.

While stakeholders work through the ICANN-convened process to develop a 
transition proposal, NTIA???s current role will remain unchanged.  The 
current IANA functions contract expires September 30, 2015.

For further information see: IANA Functions and Related Root Zone 
Management Transition Questions and Answers

About NTIA

NTIA is the Executive Branch agency that advises the President on 
telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA???s programs and 
policymaking focus largely on expanding broadband Internet access and 
adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, and 
ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for continued innovation and 
economic growth. To find out more about NTIA, visit

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is
our inability to understand the exponential function."

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