ICANN Public Comment is a mechanism that gives the ICANN community and stakeholders an opportunity to provide input and feedback. Public Comment is used in the policy development process, and to guide implementation work, reviews, and operational activities of the ICANN organization.
On 3 January 2020, the Public Comment opened for the proposed amendment to the .COM registry agreement between ICANN and Verisign, Inc. Details of the proposed amendment were announced at that time. In the weeks since the announcement was made, several articles have been written that perpetuate misunderstandings of ICANN’s role in setting .COM wholesale pricing, as well as key elements of the new proposed framework for working together on initiatives related to the security, stability, and resiliency of the Domain Name System (DNS) in the form of a binding Letter of Intent (LOI) between the two organizations.
As announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce on 1 November 2018, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Verisign agreed to extend and modify the Cooperative Agreement, under which .COM fees are governed. The amendment to the Cooperative Agreement provided Verisign the pricing flexibility to change its .COM Registry Agreement (RA) with ICANN to increase wholesale .COM pricing. Specifically, the flexibility permits Verisign to pursue with ICANN an up to seven percent increase in the prices for .COM domain names, in each of the last four years of the six-year term of the .COM Registry Agreement. The proposed agreement updates the .COM Registry Agreement (RA) to reflect those changes. ICANN is not a price regulator and defers to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Justice for the regulation of pricing for .COM registry services.
The Amendment to the agreement also delivers several important commitments:
- Enhanced technical and reporting obligations in line with the Base RA
- Public Interest commitments related to combatting DNS Security threats, in line with Spec 11 of the Base RA
- Requirements for the Implementation of the Registration Data Access Protocol
Public Comment is an important part of ICANN’s processes and is fundamental to the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. I encourage all stakeholders to get involved and submit their comments before it closes this Friday, 14 February 2020.
You can read more about the proposed agreement and submit your comments here.
Once the Public Comment period closes, ICANN org will review all comments received and prepare and publish a summary and analysis report.