There is already a wealth of discussion surrounding two hot topics – Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) stewardship transition and ICANN Accountability – happening in major North American cities such as New York and Washington, DC. However, recently I had the opportunity to join in similar conversations in a much different setting – Madison, Wisconsin, where I participated in the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)+North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) on the Road, and also spoke to students at The University of Wisconsin-Madison.
ARIN and NANOG On the Road events are one-day sessions that provide professional education and networking opportunities to members of the Internet technical community in the U.S. and Canada. These events also present a great opportunity for me to connect with this community on issues related to ICANN.
After a full day of lessons and tutorials on IPv6, Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), and Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to name just a few topics, ARIN+NANOG on the Road participants retired to the University Room of the Best Western Plus Inn for refreshments and networking. Participants were mostly local to the Madison area, and hailed from telecommunications and, network operating organizations, and the university system; I even met a fellow from a local printing company, who had very little experience with operating networks, but stayed the entire day for the networking opportunities and chances to learn the ways ARIN and NANOG help deliver the Internet to individuals and organizations. Despite the wide array of interests represented, much of the discussion I took part in revolved around two questions: where does the IANA stewardship transition stand and how can I be involved.
To the first question, the timing could not have been better, as the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) had just issued their Request for Transition Proposals. The target date for submission is January 15, 2015. The ICG has since held its fourth public conference call [MP3, 16.96 MB] on the transition and published their guidelines for decision-making. To the second question on how to get involved, stakeholders are encouraged to visit the IANA stewardship transition microsite to catch-up on the progress the community has already made, follow the ICG's activities online during the upcoming ICANN 51 meeting in Los Angeles and follow the interrelated process on Enhancing ICANN's Accountability by submitting their names to the Cross Community Group.
A similar Q&A took place at the Computer Science Department of the University of Wisconsin, where I provided a more in-depth overview of ICANN, the multistakeholder model of Internet governance, and listed the many communities that make up the Internet ecosystem.
A mix of undergraduate and graduate students at the discussion were equally interested in Internet freedoms around the world, the potential perils of a fragmented Internet, and the economic benefits of a single, global, interoperable Internet [PDF, 983 KB].
Both events presented great opportunities for ICANN stakeholders in North America to meet each other, meet ICANN staff, discuss a range of Internet issues and share their unique knowledge and experiences as network operators, registries, business developers and, equally as important, from the student perspective.
Joe Catapano is Coordinator, ICANN Global Stakeholder Engagement for North America