ICANN is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) [PDF, 361 KB] to identify one or more providers for the Pre-Delegation testing that is specified in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook. The set of tests to be performed are specified at a high level in section 5.2. A detailed set of requirements is included in the Request for Proposals. The pre-delegation testing system is expected to be ready to operate by the end of March 2013.
Interested parties can send their responses to the Request for Proposals via email to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The Pre-Delegation Testing deadline to submit a response to the Request for Proposals is 20 November 2012. Questions regarding the RFP should be submitted via email to <email@example.com> no later than November 7, 2012.
The purpose of the Pre-Delegation Testing is to verify that the applicant has met its commitment to establish registry operations in accordance with the technical and operational criteria described in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook. Each applicant will be required to complete Pre-Delegation Testing as a prerequisite to delegation into the root zone.
The test elements cover both DNS server infrastructure and registry system operations (EPP/Whois). In many cases the applicant will perform the test elements as instructed and provide documentation of the results to ICANN to demonstrate satisfactory performance. At ICANN's discretion, aspects of the applicant's self-certification documentation can be audited either on-site at the services delivery point of the registry or elsewhere as determined by ICANN.