12
May/09

ICANN Notice re New gTLDs (Including Timetable)


ICANN continues to move forward in the implementation of the new gTLD Program while balancing and addressing community concerns on specific aspects of the program. The public comment period on the second version of the applicant guidebook recently closed and work continues to proceed regarding the discussion of overarching issues.
In order to continue progress and the community discussion, ICANN will:
Publish an analysis of comments similar to that published after the fist version of the Guidebook,
Conduct consultations and fora at the Sydney meeting and afterward to develop solutions to the overarching issues,
Publish the third version of the Guidebook after the Sydney meeting when solutions to the overarching issues can be included.
With that in mind, it is anticipated that applications for new top-level domains will be accepted starting in the first quarter of 2010.
Guidebook Analysis
As with the first version of the Guidebook, ICANN will organize and report a synopsis of all the comment made in the ICANN comment forum as well as at the ICANN meeting in Mexico City. The report will analyse comment by category and balance different proposals made. The goals of the report are to:
analyse the comment in order to develop amendments to the Guidebook that are consonant with the meaningful input of the community, and
demonstrate that the comment is taken seriously and carefully considered.
ICANN will not be producing a third version of the Applicant Guidebook for new generic top-level domains before its upcoming June meeting in Sydney, Australia. This is because the discussion of overarching issues will continue through the meeting and beyond (as was expected). Publication of a new Guidebook version without addressing these issues might signal that they are not considered important.
In order to provide specifics and point up discussion, the Comment Analysis will be accompanied by several excerpted redlined sections of the Guidebook so that potential changes can be discussed. These excerpted sections are being developed in response to the recently closed public comment forum and will be published in time for discussion in the Sydney meeting.
Overarching Issues
ICANN previously identified four overarching issues with respect to the new gTLD program. Significant progress has been made on each and the Sydney meeting will be used to focus on that work in the hope of finding solutions.
For example, a session dedicated to trademark issues will take place on Wednesday, 24 June at the Sydney meeting. There will also be an update session on the opening day of the meeting, as well as the usual updates and public forums.
Starting with the first session in Sydney, regional events will be held in Europe, the Americas and Asia, to develop Guidebook solutions to Trademark issues. Those sessions will discuss solutions offered by the Implementation Recommendation Team and other sources.
Timing
The comment analysis and redlined Guidebook sections will be published in time for discussion at the Sydney meeting. The third version of the Guidebook is scheduled to be published in early September; the comment period for that version will close after the ICANN meeting in Seoul (25-30 October 2009). This timing enables the publication of the final Guidebook and following a communications period, the acceptance of applications in the first quarter of 2010.
New gTLDs and the Internet
Openness Change Innovation
After years of discussion and thought, generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) are being expanded. They will allow for more innovation, choice and change to a global Internet presently served by just 21 generic top-level domain names.
A draft Applicant Guidebook describing the detailed application process has been developed with opportunities for public comment. Additional information on the Program can be found here.
ICANN is a not for profit corporation dedicated to coordinating the Internet’s addressing system. Promoting competition and choice is one of the principles upon which ICANN was founded. In a world with 1.5 billion Internet users (and growing), diversity, choice and innovation are key. The Internet has supported huge increases in choice, innovation and the competition of ideas and expanding new gTLDs is an opportunity for more.
For those interested in knowing more about the process, program and future meetings please visit the New gTLD Program webpage.
An online wiki outlines progress on the overarching issues and can be found here.

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