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Tell us what you think – public comment rundown

In the build up to every ICANN meeting, there is always a glut of public comment periods as reports are finished in time for the community to review them before discussing them in person.

Mexico City is no exception. Although this time, it is very much easier to get a quick overview of what is out for public comment by looking at the front page of the ICANN website (the third box down on the right).

Just to present you with another avenue to finding out about these public comment periods, there are all listed below with quick explanations of what they are and the dates when they close.

Open comment periods

1. GNSO Constituency Renewals. Closes 25 FEB
As part of the ongoing changes to ICANN’s main policy-making body, the GNSO, all the existing constituencies have put in submissions stating that they have followed the bylaws and so should be reconfirmed as valid constituencies. You are free to comment on these submissions.

2. IPv4 Global Policy. Closes 26 FEB
We are running out of IPv4 address space and so ICANN has been working with the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) to decide what system we follow as the addresses get more and more scarce. The policy here proposes that each RIR be allocated one “slash-8″ – equating to roughly 16.7 million IP addresses – as soon as they are only five blocks left. If you have a comment on this you can make it between now and 26 February.

3. Single and Two-Character .BIZ Domains. Closes 15 MAR
The company that runs the .biz registry, NeuStar, wants to make single and two-character domains available. Until recently, no registries were allowed to do this because of technical concerns. But those rules have relaxed over the past year or so. To be allowed to create, for example,, NeuStar has to change its contract with ICANN, and ICANN puts all contract changes out for public comment and review. So if you have an opinion about this, you can make it online.

4. Geographic Regions Working Group Charter. Closes 24 MAR
As an organization hoping to represent global stakeholders, ICANN has followed the common approach of splitting the world up into different regions in order to make things manageable. The problems is: where do you draw the lines? It may seem simple but the closer the issue is looked at, the more complex it becomes. So, in order to review what these regions are and who they include, ICANN has created a Working Group to go through all the issues and make recommendations at the end of it. The first step in that process is to create a charter for the group – outlining the scope and methodology that will be followed. This public comment period opens that charter up to public review.

5. Fast Track Proposed Solutions. Closes 6 APR
The Fast Track is the process by which governments and the managers of different countries’ registries will be able to apply for and receive versions of their country name in different languages scripts at the top-level of the Internet i.e. the part after the dot in a domain name. An example would be “China” in Chinese characters. These “internationalized domain names” or IDNs are being put out on the Internet for the first time as the technical issues that make it possible have only recently been resolved.

It is not a simple process by any means, so ICANN has been producing drafts of an “implementation plan” to make this process a reality. In this iteration, as well as the latest version of the Fast Track Implementation Plan, there will be three papers identifying specific issues that still need to be resolved. You can see all the papers in question and make comments about them now and until 6 April.

6. ALAC Review Final Report. Closes 17 APR
ICANN regularly reviews of its main supporting organizations and advisory committees to make sure they remain relevant and in the correct format. The At Large Advisory Committee or ALAC exists to represent ordinary Internet users and it has been under review for roughly a year and the process is drawing to a close. A final report of the working group created to carry out much of the review has been released for its final piece of public comment before being formally submitted to a Board Committee that then puts it forward to a vote by the whole Board. So if you want your say on how ordinary Internet users should be represented within the ICANN model, this is your last chance. Until the ALAC is reviewed again in a few years.

7. Operating Plan and Budget FY2010. Closes 30 APR
People are constantly asking how much money ICANN has and how it decides where to spend it. What few people recognise however is that those decisions are heavily influenced by the community itself. Every year, ICANN runs through a public strategic planning process that outlines what the organization needs to do in the next year. It then turns that into an Operating Plan and from that devises its budget. The community is invited every year to provide their feedback on the process of where ICANN spends it money. This is a comment period on the first version of the Operating Plan and Budget for ICANN’s 2010 financial year. The comments from this will be used to revise the plan and budget and it will then be put out a second time before being approved by the Board in June.

And that’s it for now. Much of the community will be focussed on the revised Applicant Guidebook for new generic top-level domains that will come out in the next day or so, but please do not forget these other public comment periods.

You can view all open and recently closed public comment periods on one page, as well as an archive of older comment periods:


    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."