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Next Steps in ICANN's Preparations for a New gTLD Subsequent Procedures ODP

14 September 2021

As announced on 14 September 2021, the ICANN Board has directed the ICANN President and CEO, or his designees, to prepare for an Operational Design Phase (ODP) to assess the resource and operational impacts of the Outputs contained in the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council's Final Report for the New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process (PDP). The Board is making this request because we expect the information and details resulting from the ODP will inform and help to facilitate our determination regarding the Subsequent Procedures Final Report Outputs. It is important to note that, at this stage, the Board is asking the Org for an operational assessment to inform our decision on this important area of work.

About the ODP for the Subsequent Procedures Final Report Outputs

This ODP, as detailed in the ODP Process Paper, will result in an operational assessment of the GNSO Council policy recommendations that are before the Board for our consideration. The outcome of the ODP will provide the Board with relevant information to determine the operational impact of implementing the recommendations, including whether the recommendations are in the best interests of the ICANN community or ICANN. The ODP will be an integral part of the preparation work for a next application round for new gTLDs if and when those recommendations are approved, and the costs incurred during the ODP are considered part of the development costs for that next round.

The questions framing the work in the ODP requested by the Board are specified in the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Operational Design Phase Scoping Document. The Board-approved Scoping Document also contains a requested timeline for the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures ODP. The Board expects the work of the ODP to be completed within 10 months of initiation. This will occur when the Org has organized and allocated the resources necessary to execute the work, estimated to take three months, and advised the Board accordingly. During the course of the 10-month work period, the ODP team will update the Community on its progress and answer questions that may arise. When specific milestones are reached, ICANN Org will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to provide feedback on the facts, figures, assumptions, approach, or other relevant information that ICANN Org is using for its ODP work.

Neither the ODP itself nor the Community input is an opportunity to question, modify, or amend the wording or intent of the Subsequent Procedures PDP recommendations. Should any policy-level questions or issues arise, ICANN Org will inform the Board and refer these policy issues and questions to the GNSO Council, which is encouraged to appoint an ODP liaison for this purpose.

Looking Ahead

ICANN Org has begun organizing resources so it can initiate the ODP. The Org has launched a dedicated New gTLD Subsequent Procedures ODP webpage where it will publish all information relating to the ODP. The page also contains an engagement section where stakeholders can ask questions, submit feedback, and read what other stakeholders have said.

ICANN Org will present a webinar on 28 September 2021 for the Community to review and answer questions regarding the scope of the ODP, as well as detailing the plans for stakeholder engagement.

The Board anticipates that the work conducted during the ODP will have a positive impact on the duration of the implementation process. For example:

  • It is expected that the ODP will provide proposed operational process design and answer key questions that would typically not be addressed until well into the implementation phase.
  • The Operational Design Assessment (ODA) will include a proposed implementation timeline, providing early visibility into the projected timing of implementation activities.
  • If the Board approves the recommendations, the ICANN Org and the Implementation Review Team would begin their work with operational data available. While the ODP analysis will not address every implementation question, the Board expects the information to add value to the implementation process.

By addressing the questions in the Scoping Document during the ODP, the Board believes the ODP and the resulting ODA will help to favorably position the implementation phase for success.

Where to Find More Information

All relevant information pertaining to the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures ODP can be found on the dedicated webpage. You can find all public material related to the ODP's purpose, scope, and outputs, and the page will feature a progress tracker once work gets underway. We also invite the Community to register for the upcoming SubPro ODP webinar taking place on 28 September at 20:00 Universal Coordinated Time.


Maarten Botterman

Maarten Botterman

ICANN Board Member