The USG White Paper is agreeably vague in this area. 'Once established, the new corporation could be funded by domain name registries, regional IP registries, or other entities identified by the Board.'
However, ICANN cannot be funded as a NGO or by governments (ITU problem), by the computer industry i.e. IBM/MCI or equipment suppliers e.g.. Cisco (trade forum problem) or by the trademark 'fraternity' (partisan interest problem) Also for likely reasons of conflict of interest. (cf Mueller/Rutkowski correspondence on domain-policy list 10.9.98) Long-term funding must come from the entities that benefit from ICANN services.
2. What services is ICANN providing that can be charged for and to whom are these services provided?
1) set policy for and direct allocation
of IP number blocks to regional Internet number registries;
- a service to registries
2) oversee operation of the authoritative Internet root server system;
- a service to root server operators
3) oversee policy for determining the circumstances under which new TLDs are added to the root system; and
- a service to domain-holders (?) and trademark holders (?)
4) coordinate the assignment of other Internet technical parameters as needed to maintain universal connectivity on the Internet.
- a service to anyone who depends on that connectivity i.e end users.
3. Who should be willing to pay for these services?
It is unclear from the above paragraph whether ICANN inherits IANA's self-proclaimed mandate of 'Preserving the central coordinating functions of the global Internet for the public good.' However, it would appear that it is in a good position to assert (3) and (4) above as functions for which end-users should be willing to pay. If they are not, then the internet should be allowed to fall apart. Certainly the regulatory authorities who have largely stepped aside to allow this experiment to happen 'would like to see an economically rational and practical charging system - a contribution per name registered for example.'
Therefore ICANN devises a funding scheme that not only takes account of internediary functions, but goes directly to the beneficiaries of the connectivity ICANN preserves and asks them for a contribution appropriate to the value of their benefit. ICANN provides security and stability. What is the price of that stabilty and security? What further can ICANN do to provide these services?
It is in terms of the above argument that, apart from registry contributions, well-wisher contributions (disallowed as political contirbutions long-term?), we devised a quadripartite funding plan which can draw income from the end-user services ICANN provides. However it is not suggested that ICANN, in its not-for-profit guise, should operate these income streams directly -this would hazard the not-for-profit status of ICANN and threaten its mandate-, but that it be an agreed beneficiary on a cost-recovery basis, whilst any other pooled income accrues to internediaries pro rata.
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