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Request for Proposal for Root Zone Update Process Study

28 April 2020

LOS ANGELES – 28 April 2020 – Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced a request for proposal (RFP) to identify a contractor qualified to conduct a study about the processes and systems used to make changes to the highest level of the Domain Name System (DNS) structure: the root zone.

The objective of this study is to investigate whether there is a need to increase (and if so, how) the robustness of the operational arrangements for making changes to the root zone content, identifying any single points of failure that may exist and, should they exist, offering recommendations on how to reduce or eliminate them. This study is called for in the proposal [PDF, 2.31 MB] to transition the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the private sector. The contractor will write a document outlining their findings and propose changes to address any weaknesses identified as a result of the investigation.

Historically, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) played an active role in the coordination and management of the DNS. After a nearly two-decades long process that culminated on 1 October 2016, the DoC's role was transitioned to the private sector as part of an effort called the IANA Stewardship Transition. As part of the planning for this transition, the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) released a document in March 2016 entitled "Proposal to Transition the Stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Functions from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to the Global Multistakeholder Community." This document proposed a plan to implement the transition and included additional recommendations, including a call for a formal study to be conducted to examine the operational procedures governing changes to the root zone after the NTIA's involvement ceased. This RFP solicits a provider to perform the study described in the ICG proposal.

For a complete overview of the RFP including the timeline, please see here [PDF, 268 KB].

Indications of interest should be emailed to RZUPStudy-RFP@icann.org. Proposals should be electronically submitted by 23:59 UTC on 12 June 2020 using ICANN's sourcing tool. 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 not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.