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U.S. Gov't Endorses Transition Plan for Internet Domain System
   2016-06-10 13:01:25    Xinhua      Web Editor: Guan Chao

A file photo shows a logo of the Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). [Photo: 50cnnet.com]

The U.S. government on Thursday endorsed a proposed plan to transition the oversight of Internet domain name system to what it called "the global multistakeholder community."

The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, said in a statement that the proposal from the Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California-based nonprofit, meets the criteria it outlined two years ago.

"The Internet's multistakeholder community has risen to the challenge we gave them to develop a transition proposal that would ensure the Internet's domain name system will continue to operate as seamlessly as it currently does," said NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling.

"The plan developed by the community will strengthen the multistakeholder approach that has helped the Internet to grow and thrive, while maintaining the stability, security, and openness that users across the globe depend on today," Strickling said.

Previously, the U.S. government has repeatedly said it would not accept a plan that replaced NTIA's role with a government-led or intergovernmental organization solution.

The NTIA initiated steps to transition its "stewardship role" for the so-called Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions in 2014 by asking ICANN to convene global stakeholders to develop a plan, which the latter submitted in March this year.

Currently, the IANA functions such as the global allocation of IP addresses were performed by the ICANN pursuant to a contract that expires Sept. 30.

The NTIA said there is still work to be done, including relevant technical testing, before the IANA functions stewardship transition can occur.

It has set Aug. 12 as a deadline for the ICANN to provide a report gauging whether this work is likely to be completed prior to the Sept. 30 expiration of the IANA functions contract.

In a statement, the ICANN said it is "very pleased" with the NTIA announcement, pledging to "continue to plan and prepare for a timely and successful implementation of the proposals."

The announcement has been met with cautious optimism by various Internet-related trade groups.

"The Internet economy applauds NTIA for its deliberative and thorough work reviewing the ICANN transition proposals ... (which) provide the Internet with the best path forward for self governance," the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Internet Association and the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, said in a joint statement.

"It is important that Congress not artificially slow down the transition ... We will remain engaged and vigilant as the transition proceeds to ensure the continued success of the multistakeholder model," they said.

It is hard to predict whether the transition will go smoothly or not. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, who recently dropped out of the presidential race, introduced a bill this week which would ensure no such transition can take place without Congressional approval.

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