NTIA Will Extend ICANN IANA Contract to September 30, 2016

Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, Lawrence E. Strickling, has announced plans to "extend our IANA contract with ICANN for one year to September 30, 2016. Beyond 2016, we have options to extend the contract for up to three additional years if needed. This one-year extension will provide the community with the time it needs to finish its work. The groups are already far along in planning the IANA transition and are currently taking comments on their IANA transition proposals. As we indicated in a recent Federal Register notice, we encourage all interested stakeholders to engage and weigh in on the proposals. The Internet’s global multistakeholder community has made tremendous progress in its work to develop a proposal to transition the historic stewardship role NTIA has played related to Internet’s domain name system (DNS)." 

Strickling also announced:

"In preparation for the implementation phase of the IANA stewardship transition, NTIA also asked Verisign and ICANN to submit a proposal detailing how best to remove NTIA’s administrative role associated with root zone management, which the groups working on the transition were not asked to address. We asked Verisign and ICANN to submit a proposal detailing how best to do this in a manner that maintains the security, stability and resiliency of the DNS. Under the current root zone management system, Verisign edits and distributes the root zone file after it has received authorization to do so from NTIA. Verisign and ICANN have developed a proposal that outlines a technical plan and testing regime for phasing out the largely clerical role NTIA currently plays in this process. The testing will occur in a parallel environment that will not disrupt the current operation of the root zone management system. These developments will help ensure that the IANA transition will be done in a manner that preserves the security and stability of the DNS."

Verisign/ICANN Proposal in Response to NTIA Request (pdf): The Root Zone Management System (RZMS) is a set of tools, which currently allows ICANN as the IANA Functions Operator (IFO), Verisign, as the Root Zone Maintainer (RZM), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC), as the Root Zone Administrator (RZA), to collaboratively manage the changes to the Internet’s single authoritative root zone ... There are three key components of the DNS that are managed by the RZM in conjunction with the IFO and are required for proper function of the DNS root. Those key components are 1) the root zone, 2) the root-servers.net zone, and 3) the root hints file. All three of these work products are produced utilizing the same process and procedures and currently require NTIA authorization for changes. In addition, there are supplemental items that require NTIA authorization related to DNSSEC specifically, the Signed Key Response (SKR).

Q. Will there be a new agreement to perform the RZM function post the IANA stewardship transition?
A. Verisign performs the RZM function today, including multiple daily publications of the root zone file, under the Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Commerce. It is anticipated that performance of the RZM function would be conducted by Verisign under a new RZM agreement with ICANN once the RZM function obligations under the Cooperative Agreement are completed.
Q. Has a final new RZM agreement between Verisign and ICANN been completed?
A. No.
Q. Does this proposal or the anticipated new RZA agreement impact Verisign’s .com or .net registry agreements?
A. No. This proposal and the IANA stewardship transition do not impact the .com and net registry agreements. RZM is a separate function performed at no cost as a public service by Verisign spanning three decades.
Q. How will this impact the Cooperative Agreement between NTIA and Verisign?
A. The Cooperative Agreement between NTIA and Verisign will continue. Once the parallel testing for root zone management has proven capable of performance in the absence of the RZA / NTIA role and the IANA Stewardship transition implemented, NTIA and Verisign will amend the Cooperative Agreement as appropriate.

See also on Domain Mondo: ICANN Accountability, IANA Transition, Proposals, Comments, Webinars

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