Five years ago the Internet reached an historic stage in its evolution. On 1 October 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) transitioned the coordination and management of the Internet's unique identifiers to the global Internet community.
This formal transition to the private sector was the final step in a process that began over 20 years ago with the formation of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 1998. At that time, the U.S. Government recognized that as the Internet expanded globally, its governance would also need to expand, grow, and adapt along with it.
Recognizing the Multistakeholder Community
For billions of Internet users, this extraordinary moment in the Internet's evolution would have gone unnoticed; there was no change in their online experience. However, there were hundreds of people within the volunteer-based ICANN community and in the broader global Internet stakeholder community who worked tirelessly on the final IANA Stewardship Transition proposal and recommendations.
As the ICANN Board said at the time, "This community validated the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. It has shown that a governance model defined by the inclusion of all voices, including business, academics, technical experts, civil society, governments, and many others is the best way to ensure that the Internet of tomorrow remains as free, open, and accessible as the Internet of today."
So, while we celebrate this important milestone, it is also a time to pay tribute to the community and the bottom-up multistakeholder model that is at the core of Internet governance and ICANN.
When the community embarked on their journey to create proposals and recommendations for the IANA Stewardship Transition, their process reflected those who made up the community – global, diverse, and inclusive. Individuals from all over the world and from different stakeholder groups worked together to create two proposals to ensure the continued stable and secure operation of the IANA services and an enhanced accountability for ICANN.
Learn more about the history of the IANA Stewardship Transition and the Recommendations and Proposals
- 1998 U.S. Commerce Department White Paper
- 14 March 2014 – NTIA Announces Intent to Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions
- 10 March 2016 – ICANN Board Transmits IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal and Enhancing ICANN Accountability Recommendations to NTIA
- 1 October 2016 Announcement – Stewardship of IANA Functions Transitions to Global Internet Community as Contract with U.S. Government Ends
- ICANN History Project
- IANA Stewardship Transition Microsite
Progress Since the 2016 IANA Stewardship Transition
Five years since the transition, there continues to be one, single, interoperable, and secure Internet. The coordination of the IANA functions continues to operate smoothly while meeting the needs and expectations of IANA's global customers and partners.
ICANN has supported all facets of the performance of the IANA Functions in line with its new commitments, including running the first IANA Naming Function Review. The support of the community has been important in all of this work. Highlights include:
- The Customer Standing Committee for the Naming Function is active and has met every deliverable anticipated.
- The IANA Numbering Function has delivered consistently to the satisfaction of the Regional Internet Registries.
- The IANA Protocol Parameters Functions have been consistently performed to the satisfaction of the Internet Engineering Task Force, pursuant to the terms of their agreements.
ICANN also has made great strides in the accountability improvements approved and implemented alongside the transition. The Empowered Community has been active, and the community has continued its work on further accountability through Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability, Work Stream 2 (WS2) efforts, which are now in implementation. ICANN continues toward improvements as developed through the ICANN community.
While there remains more work to do, today is a day to reflect on all that the ICANN community has accomplished. Maintaining the security, stability, resiliency, and openness of the Internet is a testament to the maturity, accountability, and technical competence of ICANN and its global multistakeholder community.
Thank you to those within the Internet community from around the globe who tirelessly contributed their time, hard work, and dedication in helping to maintain one, open, interoperable, and secure Internet for the entire world.