ICANN has added a little more detail to its plans for the Operational Design Phase for the next round of the new gTLD program.
VP and ODP manager Karen Lentz last night blogged that the project is being split into nine work tracks, each addressing a different aspect of the work.
She also clarified that the ODP officially kicked off January 3, meaning the deadline for completion, barring unforeseen issues, is November 3. The specific dates hadn’t been clear in previous communications.
The nine work tracks are “Project Governance”, “Policy Development and Implementation Materials”, “Operational Readiness”, “Systems and Tools”, “Vendors”, “Communications and Outreach”, “Resources, Staffing, and Logistics”, “Finance”, and “Overarching”.
Thankfully, ICANN has not created nine new acronyms to keep track of. Yet.
Pro-new-gTLD community members observing how ICANN’s first ODP, which addressed Whois reform, seemed to result in ICANN attempting to kill off community recommendations may be worried by how Lenzt described the new ODP:
The purpose of this ODP, which began on 3 January, is to inform the ICANN Board’s determination on whether the recommendations are in the best interests of ICANN and the community.
I’d be hesitant to read too much into this, but it’s one of the clearest public indications yet that subsequent application rounds are not necessarily a fait accompli — the ICANN board could still decide force the community to go back to the drawing board if it decides the current recommendations are harmful or too expensive.
I don’t think that’s a likely outcome, but the thought that it was a possibility hadn’t seriously crossed my mind until quite recently.
Lentz also refers to “the work required to prepare for the next round and subsequent rounds”, which implies ICANN is still working on the assumption that the new gTLD program will go ahead.
The ICANN board has give Org 10 months and a $9 million budget, paid out of 2012-round application fee leftovers, to complete the ODP. The output will be an Operational Design Assessment, likely to be an enormous document, that the board will consider, probably in the first half of next year, before implementation begins.
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