Sunday , March 26 2023

ICANN says ODP will speed up new gTLDs in the long run

A time-consuming process to spec-out the next new gTLD application round before it is even formally approved will actually speed up the program over the long run, an ICANN veep has said.

The so-called Operational Design Phase is a bunch of planning, or issues such as cost and feasibility, that ICANN says it needs to do before the community’s policy recommendations can be put before the board of directors.

The board approved the ODP in September, giving the Org a $9 million budget and a 10-month deadline to complete the project, but the clock doesn’t start ticking until CEO Göran Marby formally starts the process.

Three months later, that still hasn’t happened. ICANN is still “organizing the resources needed and developing the roadmap for the work ahead”, according to a blog post from Karen Lentz, VP of policy research and stakeholder programs.

The Org is doing the preparation for the preparation for the preparation for the next round, in other words.

But Lentz says this will speed up the new gTLD program over the longer term.

We believe the ODP will actually streamline future work. It will have a positive impact on the duration of the implementation process by making the assumptions explicit, answering key questions, and considering how the recommendations on different topics work together in addition to providing a detailed timeline and visibility to the timing of implementation activities. If the Board approves the recommendations, the org and the Implementation Review team would be able to leverage a good amount of work already completed during the ODP. Future rounds would not be possible without the foundational work of an ODP. It’s important to note that without an ODP, this work would still be taking place, but without the structure and transparency that the ODP provides.

Another important consideration to note here is that we are not simply organizing only the next round. We are building a foundational structure for all of the work that the org, the community, and the Board will do over the coming years to continue to evolve the namespace along with the necessary procedures and tools. So the work from this ODP is not only for a single round — this is targeting a long-term plan and for multiple rounds.

If Marby were to start the ODP tomorrow, and ICANN managed to hit its deadline, October 2022 would be the absolute earliest the ICANN board would get the chance to approve the next round.

It’s possible, though not very likely given how intrinsic to ICANN’s mission the opening up of gTLD competition is, that the board could instead decide not to approve the next round.

After the next round gets the thumbs-up, there’s still a whole lot of extra work to do — the aforementioned Implementation Review, hiring contractors, a months-long marketing campaign — before companies would actually get to file their applications.

We’re still looking at 2024 at the earliest for that, in my view, but if there’s one thing we can rely on from ICANN, it’d delay.

The post ICANN says ODP will speed up new gTLDs in the long run first appeared on Domain Incite.

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