Singapore -- ICANN today wrapped up one of its most historic meetings after approving a plan on 20 June to usher in a vast change in the Internet's Domain Name System.
"ICANN's achievements in Singapore have made history," said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer. "After years of discussion, debate and deliberation with many different communities -- including business groups, cultural organizations and governments -- we have opened the door to an era of creative innovation unlike any other since the Internet's inception."
During the meeting, ICANN approved a plan to dramatically increase the number of Internet address endings, called generic top-level domains (gTLDs), from the current 22, which include such familiar domains as .com, .org and .net. Applications are expected to be accepted beginning on January 12, 2012.
The Board of Directors also elected a new leader. It named Steve Crocker, an Internet pioneer, as Chair of the Board. Dr. Crocker has been involved with ICANN since 2002, serving as chair of its Security, Stability, and Advisory Committee (SSAC) until 2010. He was the SSAC liaison to the Board from 2003 to 2008, a voting member of the Board since 2008, and vice-chair of the Board since December 2010.
"With the approval of the new gTLD process, we also facilitated the global expansion of Internet users by allowing the use of any language script, such as Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese, as a top-level domain."
Crocker succeeds Peter Dengate Thrush, who was Chair since 2007.
Board member Bruce Tonkin, an Australian, was named Vice Chair. He is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for Melbourne IT Limited.
Two new Board members were seated: Chris Disspain, Chief Executive Officer of Australia's .au Internet registry, and Bill Graham, former head of the Internet Society's strategic global engagement activities. They replace outgoing Board members Thrush and Rita Rodin Johnston.
Other achievements in Singapore include:
- The launch of a global communications period to raise awareness of new generic top-level domains; this will include outreach to developing countries.
- Acceptance of 26 out of 27 recommendations from the Accountability and Transparency Review Team that reinforce ICANN's commitment to openness and responsiveness, and progress forward with work on the remaining issue, which requires independent external review.
- Approved a new .NET registry agreement with VeriSign, Inc., for another six years.