An organization to which ICANN delegates some defined level of ongoing policy-formulation responsibility regarding the manner in which a particular TLD is operated, provided the policies are within the scope of the TLD's charter and comply with requirements concerning interoperability, availability of registration data, and the like intended to ensure that the interests of the overall Internet are served. In TLDs which have a sponsoring organization, that organization is primarily responsible for choosing the registry operator (see below).
The extent to which certain policy-formulation responsibilities are appropriately delegated to a sponsoring organization will depend upon the characteristics of the organization that may make such delegation appropriate. These characteristics may include the mechanisms the organization proposes to use to formulate policies, its mission, who will be permitted to participate and in what way, and the degree and type of accountability to the community it will serve (to the extent these are necessary and appropriate). The Sponsoring Organization's Proposal provides an opportunity to provide information on these characteristics.
The entity that is responsible for the actual operation of the registry for the TLD, including accepting registration requests (whether from registrars or directly from registrants), maintaining a database of the necessary registration data, generating zone files, and providing nameservers to publish the zone file data throughout the Internet. Although some portions of these services may be subcontracted, the registry operator is responsible for ensuring that the services are reliably provided. Where a TLD is sponsored, the sponsoring organization is primarily responsible for selecting the registry operator; otherwise ICANN selects the registry operator.
A single organization can be both a sponsoring organization and a registry operator for a TLD, provided it has the features described here that make it suitable for both roles. If a registry operator does not have features appropriate for a sponsoring organization, then the sponsoring organization must be independent of the registry operator.
|Unrestricted TLD||A TLD with no enforced restrictions on who may apply for a registration within the domain or on what uses may be made of those registrations. Examples of unrestricted TLDs include .com, .net, and .org. (Note that RFC 1591 states that these domains are intended for various uses. As a practical matter, however, anyone may register and use names in these domains for any purpose.) A TLD having a structure with second-level domains below which registrations are offered for registration is considered an unrestricted TLD only if all of the domains in which registrations are offered are themselves unrestricted. Unrestricted TLDs can operate either without a sponsoring organization (i.e. policies to be established and modified only through the ICANN process) or with a sponsoring organization (in which case policy-making responsibility is allocated between ICANN and the sponsoring organization).|
|Restricted TLD||A TLD with enforced restrictions on (1) who may apply for a registration within the domain, (2) what uses may be made of those registrations, or (3) both. Examples of restricted TLDs include .edu (open only to certain four-year degree-granting colleges and universities), .gov (for registration of US governmental entities on the federal level only), and .arpa (for Internet infrastructure applications). Because restricted TLDs require definition and implementation of policies concerning naming restrictions, which are most appropriately addressed by subsets of the global Internet community, proposals for restricted TLDs should ordinarily provide for a sponsoring organization.|
All three parts are required for a complete application for a sponsored TLD and should be submitted by the proposed sponsoring organization. (Where the proposed sponsoring organization has not yet been formed, the submission may be made by the organizers of that organization.) A summary description of the contents of each of these three parts is given in sections 1(d), 1(e), and 1(f) below.
Both parts are required for a complete application for an unsponsored TLD and should be prepared and submitted by the proposed registry operator . A summary description of the contents of each of these two parts is given in sections 1(e) and 1(f) below.
As will be described in greater detail in the application instructions scheduled to be released on 15 August, the Sponsoring Organization's Proposal will have three basic sections: organization/structure; proposed extent of delegation of policy-formulation authority; and contract terms with registry operator.
i. Organization/Structure: This section is intended to demonstrate that the proposed organization has characteristics that make it appropriate to delegate policy-formulation authority to it. Responses should include the organization's organizational documents (such as articles of incorporation and bylaws), membership, and its present (or proposed initial) directors and officers. These materials should describe the stakeholders the organization is intended to represent and should demonstrate that the organization is well-designed and situated to formulate policy for the TLD in an open and transparent manner that represents those stakeholders. If the sponsoring organization and the registry operator are not the same, measures to ensure legal and financial independence from the registry operator should be described.
ii. Proposed Extent of Delegation of Policy-Formulation Authority: This section should describe the areas over which a delegation of policy-formulation authority is sought. In general, matters involving the interests of the entire Internet community are poor candidates for delegation, while matters of special importance to the segment of the Internet community represented by the sponsoring organization are good candidates for delegation. For restricted TLDs, sponsoring organizations must take responsibility for monitoring and enforcing naming restrictions.
iii. Contract Terms with Registry Operator: Each sponsoring organization is responsible for choosing and securing an initial registry operator. This section should describe the terms under which the registry operator has made a firm commitment to operate the registry for the new TLD. It should clearly delineate the registry operator's performance obligations, and provisions for handling change, non-performance, and termination. Registry operator's capabilities should be addressed in the Registry Operator's Proposal.
The Registry Operator's Proposal is intended to fully describe the identity, capabilities, and plan of the proposed registry operator. The applications scheduled for release on 15 August will set forth detailed requirements for the format of the proposal and the topics it covers. The following overview should assist in beginning formulation of the proposal.
In the case of an unsponsored TLD application, the Registry Operator's Proposal will be prepared and submitted by the proposed registry operator. In the case of a sponsored TLD application, the proposed sponsoring organization must identify a registry operator, obtain that registry operator's firm commitment (such as by a letter of intent) to specific terms under which registry services would be provided, and have that registry operator prepare the Registry Operator's Proposal for inclusion with the sponsored TLD application.
The registry operator is responsible for provisions of all aspects of registry services, including accepting registration requests (whether from registrars or directly from registrants), maintaining a database of the necessary registration data, generating zone files, and providing nameservers to publish the zone file data throughout the Internet. The Registry Operator's Proposal may propose subcontracting services to other vendors; in this case the proposal must be accompanied by firm commitments by the proposed subcontractors, as well as detailed descriptions of their capabilities.
The Registry Operator's Proposal primarily consists of two sections: a Business Capabilities and Plan section and a Technical Capabilities and Plan section.
i. Business Capabilities and Plan: The Business Capabilities and Plan section of the Registry Operator's Proposal must include a comprehensive, professional-quality business plan. This business plan will require detailed, verified business and financial information about the proposed registry. The topics listed below are representative of the type of subjects that will be covered in the Business Capabilities and Plan section of the application. To those who are planning to apply, we strongly recommend securing professional assistance from financial and management consultants to aid in the formulation of your business plan, in securing the necessary sources of financing, and in preparation of the Business Capabilities and Plan section of the Registry Operator's Proposal.
As is customary in formal business and financial plans for significant projects, the following topics should be addressed fully: company information, current and past business operations, registry/Internet related experience and activities, mission, target market, expected costs/expected budget, expected demand, capitalization, insurance, revenue model, marketing plan, use of registrars and other marketing channels, management and employees, staff size/expansion capability, long-term commitment/registry failure provisions. Required supporting documentation will include: documents of incorporation (or similar documents), company references, annual report (or similar document), proof of capital and/or proof of firm commitment of capital, proof of insurance, personnel resumes and references.
ii. Technical Capabilities and Plan: The Technical Capabilities and Plan section must include a comprehensive, professional-quality technical plan for establishment and operation of all aspects of the registry. The technical plan will require detailed, specific information regarding the technical capabilities of the proposed registry. It should be developed with reference to the standard technical capabilities of major providers of Internet services. The topics listed below are representative of the type of subjects that will be covered in the Technical Capabilities and Plan section of the Registry Operator's Proposal. We strongly recommend that those who are planning to apply secure professional assistance from engineers and/or other technical consultants to aid in the formulation of the technical plan and the preparation of the Technical Capabilities and Plan section of the Registry Operator's Proposal.
At least the following topics should be addressed fully: physical plants, hardware, software, facility and data security, bandwidth/Internet connectivity, system outage prevention, system restoration capabilities and procedures, information systems security, load capacity, scalability, data escrow and backup capabilities and procedures, Whois service, zone file editing procedures, technical and other support, billing and collection, management and employees, staff size/expansion capability, and provisions for preserving stability in the event of registry failure. Required supporting documentation will include: company references, diagrams of systems (including security) at each location, personnel resumes and references.
As will be described in more detail in the application instructions scheduled to be released on 15 August, this part of the application will cover the basic policies for all new TLDs. For unsponsored TLDs, ICANN will have policy-formulation responsibility for the new TLD and the policies will initially be generally defined as the existing policies for .com, .net, and .org as described in the ICANN/NSI/DOC agreements of November 4, 1999 and amendments. Registry operators for unsponsored TLDs may use this part of the application to propose variations on or additions to those policies, which may be negotiated with ICANN. For sponsored TLDs, the sponsoring organization may use this section to propose policies for those areas in which it seeks to have policy-formulation responsibility, though the policies need not differ from existing ICANN policies. Sponsoring organizations for restricted TLDs must include proposed naming policy for the new TLD. Both sponsored and unsponsored TLD applicants must address the proposed start-up registration policies and some general questions about the purpose and utility of the proposed TLD.
This part of the application will have three basic sections: variations (if any) in existing policies in .com, .net and .org; registration policies during the start-up phase; and the general purpose and advantages of the proposed TLD. Although this section will not require preparation of a formal plan, it will require a similar level of detail and forethought in preparation. The following topics are representative of the topics that will be covered in this section of the application:
i. Variations in existing TLD policies: This section will provide a description of policies for the TLD (including those relating to protection of intellectual property) that vary from or add to policies followed in .com, .net, and .org; any lower-level structure to be employed in the TLD; for restricted TLDs (which should have sponsoring organizations), this part should also include a detailed description of the TLDs naming policy, including restrictions on registration, enforcement procedures, naming conventions, and dispute resolution mechanisms.
iii. General purpose and advantages: an analysis of the proposed TLDs community to be served, advantages the TLD would bring to the DNS, uniqueness/service of unmet needs, enhancement of competition for registration services, and utility to the evaluation of the "proof of concept" for new TLDs.
The application fee for each new TLD application is US$ 50,000. This fee must be paid before ICANN will consider the application. It is intended to cover ICANNs costs of receiving and evaluating the application, including performing technical, financial, business, and legal analyses, as well as ICANNs investigation of all circumstances surrounding the applications and follow-up items. The application fee is non-refundable and ICANN's only obligation upon accepting the application and fee is to consider the application.
Each application (whether for a sponsored or an unsponsored TLD) requires payment of a US$ 50,000 fee.
It is anticipated that only a few of the applications that are received will be selected for further negotiations toward suitable contracts with ICANN. Those submitting applications that are not selected for negotiations, or that are selected but do not result in successful negotiation of mutually satisfactory agreements, will not be refunded their application fee, nor will ICANN reimburse their (probably larger) cost of preparing the application.
A single application may propose multiple TLD strings, but all parts of the proposal (including the Business Capabilities and Plan and Description of TLD Policies) must apply to all of the strings without significant variation. If the TLD strings requested in a single application are supported by proposals with significant variations, the applicant may be required to elect which of the variations to pursue in the application.
There is no limit on the number of applications an organization may submit, but each application must be complete on its own and must be accompanied by the non-refundable US$ 50,000 application fee.
Those seeking to sponsor multiple TLDs should consider the effect of the goals of the New TLD Policy, as adopted by the Board, of (a) providing diversity of proposals that will lead to an effective "proof of concept", and (b) enhancing competition for registration services at the registry level.
|3 August 2000||This description of the New TLD Application Process becomes available.|
|15 August 2000||Detailed New TLD Registry Application Form, instructions for filling out the application, and a statement of criteria for the Board's eventual decision to be posted.|
|5 September 2000||First day on which ICANN will accept applications. Amendments to applications will be accepted until the 2 October 2000 deadline.|
|2 October 2000||Deadline for ICANN's receipt of completed applications (including all supporting materials and application fees).|
|5 October 2000||Portions of these applications deemed appropriate for publication for purposes of public comment or otherwise will be posted on ICANN's web site.|
|19 October 2000||Close of period for public comments on proposals.|
|mid-November 2000 (during or shortly after ICANN annual meeting)||After approval by the Board, ICANN to announce selections for negotiations toward entry of agreements with registry sponsors and operators.|
|31 December 2000||Target date for completion of negotiations.|
As noted above, a detailed New TLD Registry Application Form, instructions for filling out the application, and a statement of criteria for the Board's eventual decision are scheduled to be posted on 15 August 2000.
After that posting, questions regarding the new TLD application process may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. To help provide all applicants with equitable access to information about the process as they prepare their applications, until the application deadline on 2 October 2000 all requests to ICANN for information about the process or issues arising in preparation of an application must be submitted in written form (preferably by e-mail). During the application period, requests for personal or telephone consultations regarding these matters will not be granted.
Ordinarily, any substantive responses to written questions submitted during this period will be posted on the ICANN web site. Those sending questions should take this into account in framing their questions.