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RySG Alternative Proposal for Continuity Operations Instrument

17 October 2011

Comment Period Deadlines (*) Important Information Links
Public Comment Box
Open Date: 17 October 2011 To Submit Your Comments (Forum Closed)
Close Date: 2 December 2011 Time (UTC): 23:59 View Comments Submitted
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

ICANN received from the Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) a proposal for Establishment of a Continued Operations Fund (COF). This proposal is accompanied by an addendum (Proposed Continuing Operations Instrument) produced by the Afilias and PIR, supported by some other registries, registry applicants and other interested parties.

The RySG proposal offers an alternative approach to the existing Continuing Operations Instrument that is part of the New gTLD Program.  The current model proposed by ICANN is outlined in the Applicant Guidebook, in particular see Question 50 of applicant questions evaluation criteria attachment and the spec 8 of the Registry Agreement.  Respondents to the public comment that wish to learn more about this topic are also encouraged to read the gTLD Registry Transition Process Memorandum (http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/registry-transition-processes-clean-30may11-en.pdf [PDF, 747 KB]) and the recently posted Emergency Back-End Registry Operator Request for Information (EBERO RFI): http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-2-14sep11-en.htm

Essentially, the existing Continuing Operations Instrument requires each new gTLD to obtain a letter of credit that will pay for the maintenance of five critical registry functions in the event of a registry failure. The proposed Continuing Operations Fund mechanism is essentially an insurance pool where each registry contributes to a fund – the contribution to a pooled risk fund would be less than the letter of credit (perhaps significantly less).

Here are some questions that public comment responders to be considered regarding the RySG alternative proposal as well as the existing continuing instrument model offered by ICANN. To be most effective, comments should identify the question addressed, or identify if a separate issue is addressed.

  1. Considering ICANN's Mission, what is the appropriate role for ICANN to create a fund or act as an insurer? Under which circumstances?

    • Can the same end be accomplished through a third party?
    • Will an insurance company underwrite this?
  2. The current COI model outlined on the Applicant Guidebook (see: http://newgtlds.icann.org/applicants/agb) is designed to provide some safeguards regardless of the number of gTLD registries that fail.

    For the existing COI model:

    • There will be an incentive to underestimate the projected size of the new registry, and therefore lower the cost of the COI to below what it should be to protect registrants. How could this be addressed?

    For the COF model:

    • Who should determine how much reserve must be set aside?
    • What criteria should be used to ensure sufficient funding and a mechanism to provide registrant protections?
  3. In the estimates shown in the addendum (Proposed Continuity Operations Instrument), what are the assumptions can be made in creating the basis for the proposed fund?
  4. How should the both the existing COI model and the newly proposed COF model ensure that it appropriately meets the needs of multiple registries sizes from small to large?
  5. Will the allocation of costs need to be adjusted over time if new registries enter the pool after the target balance is achieved? How can this account for some level of predictability and fairness for all registries?
  6. What appropriate level of internal resources should ICANN have for collections, tracking of deposits and outlays from the fund?
  7. What are the foreseeable challenges to move funds in timely manner to various parties as required responding to emergency situations?
Section II: Background

This assurance of continuing operations through some mechanism – whether it is the current continuity operations instrument or the newly proposed continuing operations fund – is an important issue because it provides a mechanism to protect registrants in the event of a registry failure. ICANN's main goal is a registrant protection through the implementation of a transition process that occurs in a secure, stable and reliable manner, minimizing impact not only to gTLD registrants, but also to gTLD users. This process should provide transparency to all parties involved in the transition.

The continuity operations instrument provides the one fully performed and in place registrant protection mechanism before the TLD is delegated. Additional important background information is furnished in the gTLD Registry Transition Process Memorandum (http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/registry-transition-processes-clean-30may11-en.pdf [PDF, 747 KB]). Commenters should read that. A mechanism similar to the proposed continuing operations fund was considered at one time.

Section III: Document and Resource Links
Section IV: Additional Information
There will be a session during the upcoming ICANN Dakar Meeting to explain the proposal and receive additional community feedback. The session will be chaired by representatives from the RySG. This session will have remote participation for the people not able to attend in person. If you are interested in learning more and have questions, please see here the details.
Staff Contact: Karla Valente Email: karla.valente@icann.org

(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making that takes place once this period lapses.