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IANA Contract renewal – any effect on the IP address world?

On March 10th, the US Department of Commerce, through the NTIA, released a statement that they were cancelling the RFP for the renewal of the IANA contract.  ICANN was seen as the “shoe-in” to receive this contract but according to various reports the process was cancelled because the USG felt the bid did not meet the specifications of the expanded RFP.  There is plenty of speculation about what is happening, specifically around the expansion of the global Top Level Domains (gTLDs), but only time will tell how the contract renewal plays out.  As a result of the cancellation, the existing contract with ICANN for the IANA services was renewed for 6 months presumably to start the process over or to step back from the current structure and look at some new structure.

So what does this have to do with IP addresses, isn’t ICANN all about DNS?  Well to the largest extent ICANN’s main coordination has been about the DNS, but the last “N” in ICANN has always been “Numbers.”

What does this potentially mean for the RIRs?  Since most of the RIRs were formed before ICANN existed, there has always been a bit of an arms length relationship between the RIRs and ICANN.  The current relationship is governed by an MOU that was signed in 2004 between ICANN and the NRO.   Under the current agreement the NRO acts as the ICANN ASO – Address Supporting Organization.  To date, the role of the ASO has been limited largely to certifying global IP number policies (which direct IANA to perform functions related to IP numbers) and appointing two seats to the ICANN board.  Does this open an opportunity for the  RIRs & NRO to part ways from ICANN and move forward by allowing the NRO to become a global coordinating body?  Or is this just another hurdle in the development of “Internet Governance”?

Additional Commentary:


Category: IANA, NRO

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