ICANN Announcements

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ICANN Request for Proposal: Top-Level Domain Operating Model Study

4 March 2022

Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) organization (org) issued a request for proposal (RFP) to perform a global study centered on diversity and innovation in the Domain Name System (DNS) and serving the next billion Internet users.

ICANN is aware that the next chapter in the Internet's growth will increasingly impact the global Internet community as it evolves to include more of the world. The New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program, launched in 2012, made it possible for communities, governments, businesses, and brands to apply to operate a gTLD registry. The expansion encouraged a more strategic use of the Internet by allowing users to utilize a label that aligns with their language, geography, identity, community, or brand.

Through the program, the number of gTLDs increased from 22 to more than 1,250, including 97 in non-ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) scripts. However, participation in this area of the Internet continues to be uneven across regions. The majority of new Internet users is expected to come from the African, Asia Pacific, and Latin American regions. Serving the next billion Internet users from those regions will require attention to local needs, especially as it relates to digital content in local languages.

Accordingly, the proposed study will provide evidence-based information on operating models, user requirements, and other factors related to running a TLD in the DNS. The results will help ICANN understand what information – including the most significant challenges and emerging trends –to consider in developing rules and procedures for the next gTLD round to support diversity and innovation in the DNS while maintaining DNS security, stability, and resilience.

Through the issuance of this RFP, the ICANN org solicits proposals from qualified suppliers for the provision of the services. For a complete overview of this RFP, including the timeline, please click here.

Indications of interest should be emailed to Operating.Model.Study-rfp@icann.org. Proposals should be electronically submitted using ICANN's sourcing tool by 23:59 UTC on 4 April 2022. Access to this tool may be requested via the same email.


ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a nonprofit public benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.