Request to the Board of Directors of
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
For Reconsideration of Decision on November 16, 2000 Regarding the Sponsored TLD Application of Group One Registry, Inc.
December 15, 2000
VIA FACSIMILE AND ELECTRONIC MAIL
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Dear Committee Members:
On November 16, 2000, the Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") decided to defer action on the application for the TLD .ONE submitted by Group One Registry, Inc. ("Group One"). At the time of its consideration, the Board showed substantial interest in the .ONE application. The decision was made not to proceed based on "uncertainty" about some aspects of the application. (For convenience, a transcript of the Board's consideration of .ONE is provided as Attachment A.) We believe this uncertainty can easily be resolved, and that the benefits offered by .ONE make it important to reconsider the decision and proceed to negotiations toward granting authority for the TLD.
As the sponsoring organization submitting the .ONE application, Group One is qualified to seek reconsideration under ICANN's Bylaws and Reconsideration Policy. Group One is affected by the Board's action on the application because without the ability to negotiate for the granting of the TLD it will be unable to offer the services .ONE creates for Internet users. Group One does not seek to stay the Board's action with respect to the seven TLDs approved for negotiation. This request is directed solely to the Board's decision not to approve .ONE for negotiations at the time of its November 16, 2000 meeting.
Group One submitted its application for the TLD .ONE to ICANN prior to the October 2, 2000 deadline, in proper form and with the required application fee. .ONE was one of 47 applications submitted, 44 of which ultimately were before the Board for consideration.
Group One's application was directed toward providing domain names for all Internet-connected devices, rather than just web servers as is typically the case under the existing system. The application provided that names in .ONE initially would consist only of numeric strings for several reasons: the large number of possible names to be issued, facilitating access to .ONE-identified devices from devices with only numeric keypads, and avoiding many of the trademark problems that arise with character-based domain names.
During the review of applications by the ICANN staff, ICANN sent a letter to the International Telecommunication Union soliciting technical advice on the implications of seven proposals ICANN deemed "intended to be used for telephony-related applications." .ONE was included among the applications named in ICANN's letter. ICANN described .ONE as "not explicitly directed to telephony-related uses, but instead permit[ting] any number to be registered as a SLD for any purpose."
The ITU responded to ICANN's inquiry by recommending that no telephony-related TLDs be issued at this time. The ITU also expressed concern that the .tel TLD would suggest a link to telephony, but did not comment specifically on .ONE.
When the ICANN staff issued its report on the TLD applications on November 10, 2000, it included a "telephony-related" category and named .ONE as one of four such applications. Based on the ITU's comments, the staff recommended that none of the four applications be granted, although its analysis was otherwise favorable for several of the applications.
At our presentation to the ICANN Board on November 15, 2000, we emphasized that .ONE is not about IP telephony. We pointed out the large number of Internet-connected devices that are not phones, and cited Vint Cerf's prediction that there would be 900 million such devices by 2006. The presentation described some of the many non-telephony applications .ONE could serve. (The text of the presentation is Attachment B.)
The ICANN Board considered the TLD applications on November 16, 2000, and selected seven applications for negotiations toward the possible grant of registry authority. During the consideration of the .ONE application, five Board members spoke favorably of including .ONE in the group selected for negotiations, and no Board members spoke in opposition.
At the Board meeting, an ICANN staff member read for the Board a paragraph of a letter we sent to ICANN on November 13, 2000. The letter was intended to clarify some of the issues raised in the staff report. The paragraph immediately preceding the one read for the Board offered a plain statement of Group One's purpose:
The application makes quite clear that the focus on numeric domain names was chosen for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with the fact that telephone numbers also are made up of digits. It also makes quite clear that the TLD's target market is Internet connected devices of any kind. To the extent wireless phones are part of Group One's target market, it is in their capacity as connected devices not as telephones.
We attempted, through this letter and our presentation to the Board, to clear up any misunderstandings about the .ONE application. Unfortunately, there was not sufficient time to address all the issues sufficiently to eliminate the Board's uncertainty. Due to that uncertainty, the Board did not approve .ONE for negotiations.
For the reasons stated below, Group One asks that ICANN reconsider its decision not to approve .ONE for negotiations. Specifically, we ask that at the earliest possible regularly scheduled meeting of the Board, the .ONE application be considered and approved for negotiation in light of the favorable disposition shown by the Board at its November 16, 2000 meeting and the information provided in this request.
The concerns raised by the ITU and others are important, and ICANN is right to proceed carefully with the introduction of TLDs that could interfere with telephone numbering plans. Given adequate opportunity to consider all aspects of the .ONE application, we believe the Board will recognize that Group One has no intent to interface with the PSTN, but only to allow devices to be contacted via a domain name. We realize there may still be concerns about .ONE, but we believe the best means to address these concerns is through negotiations with ICANN.
Both the staff review and Board commentary regarding the .ONE application offered favorable indications of its merit. The apparent reason for the Board's decision to exclude .ONE from the negotiations process was that it was not sufficiently clear that concerns raised about possible interaction between .ONE names and telephone numbers had been addressed.
There was a very short period of time between publication of the staff report and the Board consideration. Group One representatives were not asked any questions by the review panel (unlike representatives from other applicants). As a result, the staff report was vague and uncertain on the non-telephony aspects of the proposal. Under those circumstances, it is quite understandable that the Board did not feel there was sufficient certainty to act. However, those same circumstances make it appropriate for the Board to reconsider the application with the opportunity to clarify any issues where there was uncertainty.
There are three reasons why the Board should approve the .ONE application for negotiations upon reconsideration: (1) the application stated clear reasons for using numeric names that were unrelated to the provision of telephony services; (2) outside experts have identified clear benefits from the .ONE TLD; and (3) delaying action on the .ONE application makes it more likely that the needs .ONE can fill will instead be met by a proliferation of proprietary addressing schemes outside the accountability and coordination provided by ICANN.
Group One's application makes no reference to providing numbers for use in telephony services. The focus of the application is on data sharing between devices. The application identifies several reasons for using numeric- rather than character-based names, including: they minimize intellectual property disputes; they are international and recognized by much of the world's population; they can be accessed easily from devices that do not have a full keyboard; and they utilize the name space efficiently.
It is noted that, for convenience, some registrants may wish to register a name that matches their telephone number. As was pointed out during the Board's consideration, this ability currently exists in other TLDs. Therefore, .ONE would not introduce any new issues relating to telephone numbering conflicts.
Indeed, the .ONE application specifically seeks to avoid conflicts while preserving the authority of existing telephone numbering institutions to organize that numbering system. In its restricted space, .ONE sets aside all SLDs that match e164 numbers (the numbering plan administered by the ITU). Names beneath those SLDs may only be issued to organizations authorized by the relevant authority to issue the telephone number in that country code that corresponds to the name requested.
This restriction ensures that .ONE does not compete or conflict with the ITU's work in this area. The application does not provide for specific uses or applications within this space; the restrictions are a safeguard to ensure that .ONE does NOT create numbering system conflicts.
We have no intention to conflict with telephone numbering systems, and have several mechanisms available and in place to ensure that numbering conflicts do not arise. During negotiations with ICANN, if this request is granted, we would propose a freeze on registrations in the restricted space until satisfactory coordination arrangements are made. In addition, we have proposed that ICANN have three representatives on the Registry Policy Board, which will have authority over .ONE registration policies. These representatives can help ensure that numbering system coordination is considered in Board decisions. In addition, we will be pleased to discuss expanded dispute resolution mechanisms to protect telephone numbers from being allocated improperly (we have discussed dispute resolution issues with WIPO, which has offered to provide its services).
Technical experts who have reviewed the .ONE proposal have identified significant benefits from .ONE, and believe that it does not create a conflict with telephone numbering plans. In its application, Group One included a letter of support from Ron Johnson, Vice President for Computing and Communications at the University of Washington (Attachment C). In that letter Mr. Johnson highlighted the non-telephony benefits of the application:
The capabilities inherent in the proposal will provide important opportunities for making crucially needed progress in broadly, and more reliably and securely, deploying both wired and wireless forms of the embedded as well as portable devices and appliances needed not only by consumers worldwide but by our health care and research environments.
Mr. Johnson's letter demonstrates the broad benefits of .ONE that are unrelated to telephony. Unfortunately, because of the confusion over telephony issues, the Board did not have the opportunity to consider these benefits.
A recent letter from Jean-Michel Becar of the European Telephone Standards Institute also demonstrates the substantial non-telephony benefits of .ONE. That letter (Attachment D) states in part:
Group One is providing a nondiscriminatory platform for connected devices to reach out to each other and retrieve data in the same way the personal computers contact web servers today. .. I wish my team had developed the concept of domain names for identifying devices.
The uncertainty about telephony issues consumed the Board's discussion of .ONE, and the Board did not have the opportunity to consider the important non-telephony aspects of the application.
There is a clear need for systems that allow Internet-connected devices to be identified and addressed easily and efficiently. Already, proprietary systems to accomplish that purpose exist, such as RealNames, ICQ, and alternative DNS root server systems. Unless a universal facility is created, these proprietary systems will continue to proliferate.
If proprietary systems expand in importance, there will be more problems of standards compatibility and less of the accountability that exists with an ICANN-administered top level domain. By acting now to meet this clear market need, Group One can help maintain the stability of the Internet by preventing device connectivity applications from splintering into isolated systems.
The ITU and others have raised significant concerns about telephony-related TLDs. .ONE is not a telephony-related proposal, and its sponsors will be quite pleased to work with ICANN in the negotiations process to ensure that numbering system conflicts are addressed. Because of uncertainty at the time of initial consideration, the Board did not have the opportunity to consider the many benefits of .ONE, and the reasons it is important to introduce this service as soon as possible.
We have no intent to hold ourselves out as registering telephone numbers in .ONE, and will be pleased to commit to ICANN that we will not represent ourselves in that way. In consultation with ICANN, we will ensure that registrants in .ONE are clearly notified that neither Group One nor its registrars and resellers are an authoritative source of telephone numbers. Through these and other means to be developed in the negotiation process, we are confident that concerns can be addressed and the benefits of .ONE made available to Internet users.
We appreciate the opportunity to submit this request for reconsideration, and hope to receive a favorable reply.
President, Group One Registry, Inc.
16771 NE 80th Street, Suite 100
Redmond, WA 98052
(425) 376-0505, ext. 207
Consideration by the ICANN Board of .ONE TLD application
November 16, 2000
off screen What did we do with Group One?
off screen I don't think it went in.
off screen Can we discuss it?
off screen If you want to discuss it more, please do.
Cohen Well, I just thought it was a good application. It got a very good review. Why didn't it go in?
Cerf We have conflicting information about the nature of the numeric strings that would precede the dot-one in this case. I've been given to understand that telephone numbers would be filtered out and Louis seems to believe that that's not the case.
off screen I was told that they were out, too.
Touton Yeah, let me read to you a sentence in a letter dated November 13.
Cerf Louis, let's make sure that this is not taken so out of context ... that ... okay ... [inaudible]
Touton .... The letter is a long letter, with demands in it and so forth. It says, "Group One does not discount the importance of the issues raised in the ITU letter to ICANN, and it does not propose a service that implicates those issues. .ONE names will fall into many numbering plans: bar code systems, television program codes, etc. The fact that a person may register a name that is a digit string coincidentally identical to a phone number has no more significance in .ONE than in any other TLD." That sentence suggests to me that indeed there are not numbering restrictions that prohibit things that are telephone numbers from being registered.
off screen Linda?
Wilson If that's our main concern, then could it not be that it's simply something that has to be negotiated out ... [inaudible]
off screen I can't hear you.
Wilson Could it not be that it could be in the basket and we have the instruction to the staff that if they are not willing to put it into their contract that they will restrict it from telephone numbers then we don't want to go forward?
off screen Any other comments?
Cerf Yeah. What we needed, in all fairness, if you are going to use bar code strings and things of numbering and so on, you might very well bump into something that looks like a phone number.
If it's not been registered on the basis of its looking like a phone number, it is not so much of an issue. It's just if people register things with the expectation they are using the phone number space as the source of the string that causes the problem.
Touton The ... I understand your point, Vint, but the .... That fact, combined with a projected revenue model based on 80% revenue from telephones, it sounds like they are putting bar codes on phones that happen to be their phone numbers and registering the bar codes.
Cerf No, actually, let's make sure that we understand what that might have meant, and I don't pretend to know for sure. Another interpretation for that is to say that the revenue might come from the fact that people might use the numbers through the telephone because of the touch tone pads being all numeric. Now, I don't remember what the business model was, so I don't know what they had in mind, if it's using the numbers through the phone, and they are calling other phones, then plainly it is as you say. If they are using the telephone to put in numbers, but the numbers are not telephone numbers but are registered strings that's taking them other places, then it's less of a concern.
Dyson Yeah, that is what they said, that the benefit that they are selling is that it is convenient to use from the telephone. The question is, again, do I use my telephone as a browser to reach a Web site, or do I have a particular application where I can just put in a string, but again, it doesn't necessarily need to be a TLD string.
off screen Andrew?
McLaughlin A question for you, Louis. Of course it is true that right now you can register a telephone number dot com or dot net or dot org - can you clarify the sort of scope of the ITU's concerns about authoritative number mapping in the context of the fact that it can already be done in another TLD?
Touton The ITU's letter, if you can have it put on the screen, has a number of concerns in it and doesn't say that these things are wrong or should never be implemented. What they are saying is that there should be more work on it, and it is premature. But rather than trying to characterize it, it would be best to ...
Cerf Okay, I think there is enough uncertainty on this one that we're not going to make a whole lot more progress.
Presentation to ICANN Board by Group One Registry
November 15, 2000
.ONE will give a globally unique identifier to all Internet-connected devices. .ONE will use domain names made up of digits, which have fewer intellectual property problems than words, are more international, and are easier to enter from small keypads. Also, domain names are easier for users to get, control, and use than IP addresses. A device can keep its domain name even if it has a dynamic IP address.
With a domain name, devices can find and connect to each other. From a handheld PDA you can contact your refrigerator. From an Internet-enabled wireless phone you can connect to your car. Your game console will have its own domain name, so other players can always find you. The applications are endless, and we're not here to tell you what they are and are not.
We ARE here to tell you that .ONE can change the way people use the Internet, and Group One Registry can make .ONE succeed. Group One has technical and business support from experienced registry and registrar operators:
Internet Computer Bureau operates registries for three country-code TLDs and provides registry software to other ccTLD operators. REACTO a division of ICB provides standalone Registrar systems to a significant number of ICANN Accredited Registrars. The company operates in Europe, the United States, and Asia, and has designed software to handle sophisticated multilingual applications.
eNom is an ICANN-accredited registrar with over 200,000 new registrations in the last two months and over 600 resellers world-wide using its interface software.
WebVision is a well-financed and experienced Internet consulting and hosting company. It has large distributed data centers and a professional, experienced staff.
In addition to its experience, Group One has the business backing to make a new TLD succeed. The company has received funding commitments of $35 million and is designed so that no dominant equity owner will control it. Up to 35% of Group One's profits will be donated for Internet outreach and development around the world.
Group One will market and brand .ONE as the TLD for numeric device names. The vision of .ONE is to create an infrastructure for innovative new services. WITHOUT an open system to uniquely identify devices, we will quickly see a proliferation of closed, proprietary naming systems. With .ONE, everyone who wants to contact a device can use the same DNS-based standard.
.ONE is not about Internet telephony. There are a lot of wireless phones that can connect to the Internet. There are also a lot of connected devices that aren't phones Vint Cerf predicts 900 million of them by 2006. Our proposal is about domain names, not telephone numbers, and it should be judged on that basis.
.ONE will use advanced features like a fat registry and an enhanced RRP. The price per name will be no more than six dollars, and less for volume registrations.
.ONE will promote competition by using the existing ICANN-accredited registrars and adding a well-qualified new registry.
We urge you to look at .ONE for what it is: a domain name for every device, with experienced technical backing and solid financial support.
Letter from Ron Johnson
University of Washington
Vice President for Computing
and Vice Provost
September 29, 2000
I am writing to support the application for a new ".ONE" TLD being submitted by Group One Registry.
Having met with Paul Stahura and Paul Kane and reviewed a summary of Group One Registry's proposal, we believe it would be of substantial benefit to the Internet community and could stimulate the growth of services available on the Internet. We know and trust the sponsors of this application, and we have every confidence that given the opportunity they will make a valuable contribution to the Internet's development.
The capabilities inherent in the proposal will provide important opportunities for making crucially needed progress in broadly, and more reliably and securely, deploying both wired and wireless forms of the embedded as well as portables devices and appliances needed not only by consumers worldwide but by our health care and research environments.
The proposal sketches a very promising approach to a really important problem and set of opportunities.
Vice President for Computing and Communications
University of Washington
240 Gerberding Hall Box 351208 Seattle, Washington 98195-1208
Letter from Jean-Michel Becar
From: Jean-Michel Becar [mailto:Jean-Michel.Becar@etsi.fr]
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2000 8:16 AM
Subject: To ICANN concerning .ONE
To the Board of ICANN
I am Project Manager at the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and I'm writting to you in my personnal capacity and this email represents my personnal point of view.
I have read with great interest the application submitted by Group One Registry for the .one top level domain. Like all of the TLD applications it is lengthy and complex. Nonetheless, it is clear to me that the focus on the application is to provide domain names for a wide variety of devices connected to the Internet. I am surprised to see that the application has been treated as if it were focused on Internet telephony. Having worked with various telephony projects I can confirm that it is inappropriate to classify the .ONE proposal submitted by Group One Registry as a telephony related application.
The reference made in the application using cellular communications in combination with a remote device identified using a .ONE name to a route for the information technology and content industries to deliver new, innovative, non-voice based services. Thus, Group One is providing a nondiscriminatory platform for connected devices to reach out to each other and retrieve data in the same way the personal computers contact web servers today. The Group One proposal has the potential to offer low-cost, effective device identification with global roaming and other advanced capabilities to a vast array of non-telephony devices. The .ONE proposal has nothing to do with telephone numbers and I am lead to believe they have proposals for character device identifies to be introduced at a later date, further distancing their unique system from telephone numbering plans.
As a Project Manager at ETSI, I wish my team had developed the concept of domain names for identifying devices.
If the Group One application is stalled, the need it targets will be met instead by a growing number of proprietary systems, undermining the very universality that is the promise of the Internet. This is not a telephony application, and treating it as such squanders the opportunity for a truly valuable advance in how we use the Internet.
I understand the Board of ICANN is to be given the opportunity to reconsider the .ONE proposal and I sincerely hope this review results in the adoption of .ONE being approved. May I wish you well with your deliberations and I remain available for consultation if required.
Internet Systems Project Manager
tel: +33 4 92 94 43 15
fax: +33 4 92 38 52 15
Copy to: Paul Stahura, Group One Registry Inc.