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Minutes – Board Finance Committee (BFC) Meeting

BFC attendees: Rajasekhar Ramaraj – Chair; George Sadowsky, Gonzalo Navarro, and Bruce Tonkin (BFC Observer)

Other Board attendees: Rod Beckstrom, Steve Crocker, Peter Dengate Thrush, Dennis Jennings, Jonne Soininen.

Staff Members Present: Doug Brent - Chief Operating Officer; Barbara Clay – Vice President, Marketing and Communications; John Jeffrey - General Counsel and Secretary; Kurt Pritz - Senior Vice President, Services; David Olive – Vice President, Policy Development; Kevin Wilson, Chief Financial Officer; Diane Schroeder, Ken Shiu, and Amy Stathos.

The following is a summary of discussions, actions taken and actions identified:

  1. Reviewed the minutes from the prior BFC meeting, and all voting members approved the minutes.
  2. Received overview from staff on current financial reporting including underlying accountability and transparency principles; available and accessible disclosure of past and current financial information via the ICANN website, dashboard, wiki and published working papers; and future considerations for reporting. The BFC noted that due to the current extensive disclosure and publication of financial information, rather than generate further ad hoc reporting, the more practical approach would be to provide more education to the community on where to locate the relevant financial information.
  3. Received an update from staff on revenue including a review of existing revenue sources and historical trends in revenue estimates. Discussed proposed alternative revenue sources such as the application fees for the new gTLD program, fast track IDN ccTLD program, and ongoing registry fees for new registries. Also discussed alternative revenue sources.
  4. Discussed the current budget development process with two six-month processes and considered an alternative model with three four-month processes. This alternative process includes more input from the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees. Received an update from staff on the reserve fund and the existing reserve fund policy.
  5. The BFC discussed undertaking a more strategic look at the reserve fund after the completion of a scheduled study of the reserve fund.
  6. Received an update from staff on the preparation of a separate new gTLD budget outside of the FY11 Operating Budget and the prudent deferment of certain deployment expenses (e.g. office space, dedicated staff, third party evaluators, software license procurement, etc.) for the new gTLD program until the actual launch date is confirmed. Staff further provided an overview of the elements of the separate new gTLD budget including development costs, the factoring of adequate contingency funds and the timing of deployment expenses.
    • Action:
      • Staff to prepare an explanatory memo for a new gTLD budget to be posted for community comment and for further community consideration at the Brussels meeting.
  7. The BFC directed staff to publish total Nairobi meeting costs to ensure accountability to the community.
    • Action:
      • Staff to provide report to be posted publicly on Nairobi meeting costs, including additional security costs.
  8. Received a preliminary update from staff in relation to costs for the new Palo Alto office.
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."