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Root Zone Maintainer Agreement (RZMA)

Status of RZMA

28 September 2016:  ICANN and Verisign signed the RZMA.



In a letter sent on March 4, 2015, NTIA officially requested that Verisign and ICANN work together to develop a proposal on how best to transition NTIA’s administrative role associated with root zone management in a manner that maintains the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet’s DNS. In August 2015, ICANN and Verisign submitted a proposal in response to NTIA’s request.

Concurrent to the work on updates and parallel testing of the RZMS, ICANN and Verisign discussed and negotiated terms of a Root Zone Maintainer Agreement (RZMA). The RZMA is intended to ensure stable, secure, and reliable maintenance of the root zone post-transition. ICANN and Verisign agreed upon terms of the RZMA, which were published for a 30-day public review period starting on June 29, 2016.

Under the RZMA, Verisign will continue to provide services for root zone maintenance, root zone signing management of the root zone’s zone signing key, and distribution of the root zone file and related files to the root zone operators at a nominal fee. The RZMA will have an eight-year term, which is intended to promote the security, stability and resiliency of root zone maintenance operations by having Verisign continue its current role for the term of the agreement.

The RZMA also provides the community the ability – through a consensus-based, community-driven process – to require ICANN to transition the root zone maintenance function to another service provider after three years. It also allows for the community to recommend changes to service level agreements and the RZMS as root zone management evolves.

As required by the ICG proposal, the RZMA was posted for a 30-day public review period on June 29, 2016. On August 9, 2016, the ICANN Board passed a resolution approving the RZMA, and directed ICANN staff to move forward with signing the agreement. ICANN and Verisign signed the RZMA on 28 September 2016.

The RZMA will go into effect once the cooperative agreement between NTIA and Verisign is amended to release Verisign from root zone maintainer obligations with the U.S. Department of Commerce.


Relevant Links

Root Zone Maintainer Agreement (RZMA)

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."