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Five Things to Know About ICANN's 2015 Budget

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If you are wondering what the future holds for ICANN, you can see our best estimate in the draft FY 2015 ICANN Operating Plan and Budget. The 80-page document reflects weeks and weeks of planning and number-crunching to provide the clearest view of our future activities and initiatives.

Haven't had a chance to read it yet? Let me sum up the five things you should know about ICANN's FY 15 budget.

We listened to you and made improvements.

I'm proud of the work that went into this year's budget. We were able to make many improvements – as you, the community, requested. These include a highlights section and a complete overview of resources and expenses with comments on year-on-year variances by category and by function. We've also included a description of the activities of the organization planned for each portfolio. This budget should satisfy your requests for more data, whether you want to see a high-level overview and analysis or drill into the details of a specific project.

Our expenses are stable.

From 1 July, ICANN's expenses will remain stable across all departments, except for selected growth areas pertaining to the gTLD service platform, IT infrastructure and Contractual Compliance.

Growth will level off in coming years.

The budget reflects the growth we had to undertake in order to build the underpinnings needed for a global organization with participants from all over the world. Today, we're offering new and expanded services to more and more people and groups in more regions. And we're doing this at levels that would not have been possible a few years ago. We are very close now to being where we need to be as a mature global organization, and together we should plan for budget growth to level off in the coming years.

More details on costs relating to the IANA stewardship transition are forthcoming.

As you know, the FY 15 budget cycle was underway when the NTIA announced that it would transition the stewardship of the IANA functions in April. We developed a rough estimate of $4.7 million in costs and added it to the budget as a placeholder. Now, several months later, we have a much better understanding of the project and will soon publish a more detailed cost breakdown, broken into the four tracks of work I've written about before.

Your scrutiny is key to our accountability.

We post our draft operating plan and budget so that we are accountable to our community and stakeholders. This means that your review and comments are a critical part of how we remain accountable to you. We welcome your ongoing scrutiny.

This year's Public Comment period had interesting results. We lengthened the comment period to 54 days (it was 43 days last year), yet we still received fewer contributions than the previous year. We proactively reached out to individuals and groups that provided comments in previous years. We want to learn more about how we can be more effective in getting your feedback.

Next steps.

We are currently reviewing public comments and will post a summary and analysis later in July. The document will be revised as needed and will likely be considered for approval by the Board in late August.

We've improved the budget – but there is always room for further refinement. I intend to continue my focus on it, to ensure it is efficient and reflective of our priorities, year after year. Your close attention reinforces our mandate for accountability.

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Comments

    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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."