Historical Resolution Tracking Feature » New gTLD Program: Path to Future Rounds

Important note: The explanatory text provided through this database (including the summary, implementation actions, identification of related resolutions, and additional information) is an interpretation or an explanation that has no official authority and does not represent the purpose behind the Board actions, nor does any explanations or interpretations modify or override the Resolutions themselves. Resolutions can only be modified through further act of the ICANN Board.

New gTLD Program: Path to Future Rounds

Resolution of the ICANN Board
New gTLD Program: Path to Future Rounds
Meeting Date: 
Mon, 28 Sep 2015
Resolution Number: 
2015.09.28.12 – 2015.09.28.13
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, Board resolution 2012.02.07.05 reaffirmed ICANN's commitment to opening an additional round of the New gTLD Program as expeditiously as possible.

Whereas, the reviews of the 2012 round of the New gTLD Program are currently underway.

Whereas, the Board encourages stakeholder participation in the bottom-up process to review and develop future rounds of the New gTLD Program.

Resolved (2015.09.28.12), the Board directs ICANN staff to continue with the reviews of the New gTLD Program as scheduled, and encourages the stakeholder community to participate and support a robust and meaningful review process.

Resolved (2015.09.28.13), the Board will follow the community work with interest and will consider guidance on future rounds once the review process and potential GNSO policy development process reach a more advanced stage.

Rationale for Resolution: 

Why is the Board addressing this issue now?

Numerous review and community activities are currently underway that will likely inform when the next round will take place and how it will be carried out. The Board has been asked to consider a process and timeframe for an additional round of the New gTLD Program in order to assist ICANN in the long-term planning, analysis, and budgeting necessary to achieving an effective next round.

What are the proposals being considered?

The Board is considering the extent to which the numerous review processes and community activities currently underway will inform when and how the next round of the New gTLD Program will be undertaken. Three options have been considered. The first establishes a target date for community input into future rounds and provides an approximate timeframe for the completion of the review process and possible PDP. It does not commit any party to a strict deadline for completion of any review or policymaking activity, but rather provides an approximate timeframe for all parties to assist their planning. The second option establishes an anticipated process by which the Board would first consider review results before tasking staff with developing implementation plans and timeframes. The third defers the establishment of a timeframe or set of prerequisites for the next found until the review process and/or PDP reach a more advanced stage.

The Board is taking action at this time to encourage continued execution and participation in the current review processes and to defer consideration of future round planning until the reviews are at a more advanced stage.

What stakeholders or others were consulted?

Beginning in September 2014, ICANN staff published and collected feedback on the draft Work Plan for the New gTLD Program reviews.4 The GNSO Discussion Group on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures has played a significant role in discussing policy implications and development for the new gTLD program. While the GNSO has not formally been consulted, a recurring theme in the group's discussions has centered on what future processes should be considered in determining the next round's development. In addition, community stakeholders such as contracted parties, new registry operators, ISPs and IP operators, and members of the end-user community have all contributed their perspectives on the next round's timeframe.

What significant materials did the Board review?

The Board reviewed the draft Work Plan, Affirmation of Commitments (AoC), the estimated timeline for review completion based on initial estimates of activities described in the Work Plan, the GNSO Preliminary Issue Report of 31 August 2015 as well as the GNSO discussions on which it was based, Resolutions 2012.02.07.05 and 2014.11.17.10 – 2014.11.17.12 regarding commitments to open a second round as expeditiously as possible and in consultation with relevant stakeholder groups, and the Rights Protection Mechanisms Review of the safeguards put in place to mitigate potential issues with the New gTLD Program.

Work Plan: https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-3-2014-09-22-en
AoC: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/affirmation-of-commitments-2009-09...
Review completion timeline: http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/reviews
GNSO Preliminary Issue Report 31 August 2015: http://gnso.icann.org/en/node/48007
Resolution 2012.02.07.05: https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2012-02-07-en
Resolutions 2014.11.17.10 – 2014.11.17.12: https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2014-11-17-en...
Rights Protection Mechanisms Review: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/rpm-review-2015-02-02-en
What factors did the Board find to be significant?

Given that the results of the review process are unknown and a PDP may be initiated, it is unrealistic at this early stage to establish a timeframe for opening an additional round of the New gTLD Program. The Board understands that a desire for more certainty exists throughout much of the stakeholder community, but considers it a priority at this stage to conduct meaningful reviews of the current round. It will revisit discussions of timelines and processes for future rounds at a later point.

Are there Positive or Negative Community Impacts?

Some in the community will likely be frustrated at the lack of commitment to a definitive timeframe or procedure. However, the Board's action attempts to ensure that adequate weight is given to the review process in order to fully assess the results of the first round of the New gTLD Program. This may be seen by some constituencies as non-responsive to questions regarding how the various reviews and processes currently underway are expected to lead to the opening of a second round. However, this approach allows for continuing community dialogue regarding the critical areas to be addressed in creating this set of steps. Moving too quickly to a second round without adequate time for review may inhibit the community from adequately considering lessons learned from the first round as part of the development of the next round. Additionally, committing to a timeframe or expected process may create unrealistic expectations on the part of stakeholder communities as to when a second round can be expected to take place.

Are there fiscal impacts/ramifications on ICANN (Strategic Plan, Operating Plan, Budget); the community; and/or the public?

Some of the Program reviews require engaging specialized expertise, and funds have been allocated to these activities in the FY16 budget. However, there are no anticipated additional budget implications resulting from this resolution not already planned for and/or allocated.

Are there any Security, Stability or Resiliency issues relating to the DNS?

There is no immediate impact to the security, stability or resiliency of the DNS as a result of taking this resolution, but it should be noted that security, stability and resiliency of the DNS is one of the proposed areas of study.

Is this either a defined policy process within ICANN's Supporting Organizations or ICANN's Organizational Administrative Function decision requiring public comment or not requiring public comment?

This is not a defined policy process, as the results of the first round of the New gTLD Program have yet to be assessed and a definite policy process has yet to be established. It is likely, however, that the reviews and PDP will be subject to public comment once completed.