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Final Procedure for Designating Subsequent .net Registry Operator

29 June 2004


The following outlines the final procedure to be followed for the designation of a subsequent Registry Operator for .net. This procedure is being announced in accordance with Section 5 of the current .net Registry Agreement.


The current Registry Agreement between ICANN and VeriSign, Inc. was signed in May 2001, and will expire on 30 June 2005. The agreement provides (per Section 5.2.1) that ICANN, no later than 30 June 2004, will adopt an open and transparent procedure for designating a “successor” Registry Operator.

The final procedure as detailed below has been developed through a process containing a public comment period. After review of the comments received through the public comment period, the draft procedure was approved by the ICANN Board of Directors at the 29 June 2004 Board Meeting. The resolution for the Board meeting can be found here.

For a complete overview of announcements, ICANN Board resolutions, correspondences and other actions taken throughout the development and administration of the procedure please see General Information Regarding Designation of a Subsequent .net registry Operator.

Final Procedure for Designation of Subsequent .net Registry Operator

The procedure for designation of a successor Registry Operator contains the following elements. The procedure is established in accordance with Section 2.1 to the current Registry Agreement, and the target schedule listed may be adjusted to the extent circumstances warrant.

1. Requests for Advice on Selection Criteria (31 March 2004 – 31 July 2004)

In developing the program and procedures for the selection of a successor registry operator ICANN is obligated to the terms in Section 5.2.1 of the existing .net Registry Agreement as follows.

“5.2.1 Not later than one year prior to the end of the term of this Agreement, ICANN shall, in accordance with Section 2.1, adopt an open, transparent procedure for designating a successor Registry Operator. The requirement that this procedure be opened one year prior to the end of the Agreement shall be waived in the event that the Agreement is terminated prior to its expiration.”

As requested by ICANN, the GNSO shall establish a recommendation for the selection criteria. In this work the GNSO will be guided by Section 5.2.4 of the current .net Registry Agreement:

5.2.4 ICANN shall select as the successor Registry Operator the eligible party that it reasonably determines is best qualified to perform the registry function under terms and conditions developed pursuant to Subsection 4.3 of this Agreement, taking into account all factors relevant to the stability of the Internet, promotion of competition, and maximization of consumer choice, including without limitation: functional capabilities and performance specifications proposed by the eligible party for its operation of the registry, the price at which registry services are proposed to be provided by the party, the relevant experience of the party, and the demonstrated ability of the party to manage domain name or similar databases at the required scale.

In this work, the GNSO has stated that they are considering the work of the DNSO with respect to the reassignment of the .org registry in 2002. The draft consensus statement from the GNSO will go through the process as outlined at the 25 June 2004 announcement.

2. Development of Request for Proposal (1 August 2004 – 30 September 2004)

Following the recommendation from the GNSO to the ICANN Board of Directors, the Board will be asked to authorize the ICANN staff to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP). As part of the process of building the RFP, ICANN staff will request that relevant committees and organizations comment on the selection criteria recommendation provided by the GNSO Council. Based on advice from these groups, the RFP will be developed to include all criteria by which the proposals will be judged.

ICANN will post an initial draft of the RFP for public comments. ICANN will take public comments into consideration prior to posting the finalized RFP documents and before publishing a full timeline for the submission and evaluation periods. The final RFP (including criteria for determining the .net registry operator based upon the recommendation as provided by the GNSO and other relevant committees and organizations as appropriate) will be approved by the ICANN Board prior to being posted publicly.

3. Proposal Submission Period (1 October 2004 - 30 November 2004)

A proposal submission period will be established in which interested parties may submit applications to become the successor .net Registry Operator. ICANN will only accept questions from applicants and other interested parties that are being submitted to a designated email address during this period. Answers to these questions will be made publicly available.

4. Public Comment Period (1 December 2004 – 15 December 2004)

There will be a 2 week period in which the community has the opportunity to post comments regarding the individual proposals. As will be described in the RFP, parts of the proposals may be kept confidential and not be posted for public review and comments.

5. Evaluation and Reporting Period (15 December 2004 – 28 February 2004)

ICANN will select a team of independent technical, business/financial and legal advisors to assist it in its review of .net proposals. The panel members will be selected based on their experience, talent and skills as they apply to the evaluation task as outlined in the RFP. There will be two separate panels formed, one to measure the technical merits of the application and the second panel to test the business plans described in the applications. Potential panel members will be screened to ensure that no material conflicts of interest exist.

The independent panel of evaluators will evaluate the applications against the criteria and questions posted in the RFP and reach appropriate recommendations. If the panel decides that clarifying information is necessary to make their recommendations, such information may be requested via an independent project manager who will communicate directly with the applicants as necessary. The recommendation from the panel will be formulated in a report to the ICANN Board recommending a successful applicant and the reasons for that choice. Initially a draft report will be issued which will include the findings of the independent evaluators. Applicants will be given the opportunity to comment on this draft report.

Comments received will be taken into consideration prior to the development and publication of the final report. This final report will be posted for the Board and public to review. Applicants are invited to submit a commentary on the final report. All comments received will be posted and provided to the Board for review.

Before the Board is asked to consider the recommendation contained in the final report, contractual terms will be finalized between ICANN and the successful applicant, as in accordance with the terms listed in the RFP.

6. Consideration by the ICANN Board (March 2005 Board meeting)

The Board will review the final report together with any comments prior to voting on the recommendation as contained in the final report.

7. Announcement of successor .net Registry Operator (March 2005)

Following the Board’s decision, the concurrence of the US Department of Commerce will be sought by ICANN pursuant to Amendment 3 to ICANN/DOC Memorandum of Understanding. At the same time, ICANN will make an announcement of the designated successor .net registry Operator.

A subsequent .net registry agreement will be negotiated and signed and if an operator other than VeriSign is selected, a business and technical transition period will take place prior to the effective date of the new agreement (30 June 2005).