Skip to main content

IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) FAQ

7 December, 2014

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is intended as a guide only and is a living document.

  1. About ICG

    1. What is the ICG?

      The ICG is the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group. This group was established after the announcement by the U.S. Government Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of its intention to transfer the stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Functions to the global multistakeholder community. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) then convened a multistakeholder process to develop a transition plan. The full role of the ICG is described in its charter [PDF, 45 KB].

    2. Who are members of the ICG?

      The ICG is comprised of 30 individuals representing 13 communities. Those communities include direct and indirect stakeholders. Direct stakeholders are those with direct operational or service relationships with the IANA functions operator; that is internet names, numbers and protocol parameters. Indirect stakeholders are all the other interested and affected parties. ICG members were selected by their respective communities according to their own processes. ICG members are listed here.

    3. Is the ICG part of ICANN?

      No. The ICG is an independent coordination group that has been established as a result of a broad community consultation and in response to the NTIA's announcement. The ICG is conducting its work in an open, transparent and independent manner. The ICG will be providing its report to the community broadly. Moreover, the ICG has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to select a suitable neutral and independent contractor to perform its secretariat function. The role of the secretariat is strictly limited to the functions that support the ICG, and will report exclusively to the ICG, its Chair or Vice-Chair(s).

    4. What does the ICG do?

      The ICG's mission is to coordinate the development of a proposal amongst the communities affected by the IANA functions. It has one deliverable which is a proposal to the U.S. Government NTIA regarding the transition of stewardship of the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community. The coordination group has four main tasks:

      1. Act as liaison to all interested parties:
        1. Soliciting proposals from the operational communities
        2. Soliciting the input of the broad group of communities affected by the IANA functions
      2. Assess the outputs of the three operational comsmunities for compatibility and interoperability
      3. Assemble a complete proposal for the transition
      4. Information sharing and public communication

      The ICG's full charter is available here [PDF, 45 KB].

    5. Does this imply that the current US government role will be replaced by an entity?

      The ICG is not in a position to answer this question. The ICG have asked the communities to address this in their proposals.

  2. About the IANA Functions

    1. What are the IANA functions?

      "IANA", in this context, refers to the functions currently specified in the agreement between NTIA and ICANN "SA1301-12-RP-IANA" as well as any other functions traditionally performed by the IANA functions operator. More information about the activities of the IANA functions operator can be found in this presentation from ICANN 51. SAC-067 [PDF, 634 KB] and SAC-068 [PDF, 561 KB] also provide further information and may be useful reading in addition to the documents constituting the agreement itself. More information on IANA functions can be found in Wikipedia or in the IETF Request for Comments.

    2. Which aspects of IANA functions are to be covered in the stewardship transition?

      The only aspects of IANA functions subject to the transition arrangements are those of the administrator of registries containing Internet protocol parameters, Internet numbering resources, and the DNS root zone. Activities unrelated to the existing stewardship (for example, policy development processes) or unrelated to the aforementioned functions (for example, the administration of the Time Zone Database) are not the focus of the transition.

  3. About the process and how to participate

    1. How will proposals be developed?

      The ICG released a Request for Proposals (RFP) [PDF, 84 KB] for communities interested in and/or affected by the transition of IANA stewardship. The ICG seeks complete proposals from processes convened by the "operational communities" through processes which are open to participation by "other interested parties". Proposals should be supported by the broad range of stakeholders participating in the proposal development process, and should be developed through a transparent process that is open to and inclusive of all interested stakeholders.

    2. Who are the 'Operational Communities'?

      The 'Operational Communities' are communities with direct operational or service relationships with the IANA functions operator, in connection with internet names, numbers, or protocol parameters, namely the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), the Country Code Names Supporting Organisation (ccNSO), the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

    3. How can I participate in these processes?

      Each of the communities has its own process for developing a proposal. There is even a cross-community working group to facilitate cooperation between different Internet names organisations. While you may work on a proposal independently, working within one of these groups will be the most effective in the long run.

    4. Where can I find more information on the 'Operational Communities' processes for proposal development?

      Information about ongoing community processes and how to participate in them is available here, and will continue to be updated over time.

  4. About the decision making process for developing and submitting a unified proposal

    1. What are the criteria that need to be addressed in submitted proposals?

      Please note that this topic is still under discussion by ICG members, and expect fine tuning as discussion evolves.

      Upon receipt of a formal transition proposal from any specific operational community, the ICG will undertake:

      • Individual proposal assessment
        • Completeness – check if any RFP components are missing

        • Clarity – check if anything in the proposal requires clarification

        • NTIA criteria – check if the proposal matches the NTIA criteria

        • Community comments – check if input/comments the ICG received directly were shared with and addressed by the operational community

        • Consensus/Support – check the level of consensus and support of the submitting community

        • Inclusiveness/Outreach – check the level of inclusiveness and outreach of the provided process

      • Unified proposal assessment
        • Compatibility and interoperability – Do the proposals work together? Do they suggest any arrangements that are not compatible with each other?

        • Gaps / Overlaps – Do the proposals have any gaps and/or overlaps when integrated together?

        • Accountability – Do the proposals together address the overarching accountability mechanisms required for the IANA function?

      The ICG will discuss any issues it identifies within the proposals with the relevant community. Based on the community input, the ICG will assemble a draft full proposal for the NTIA and will then undertake:

      • Call for Public comment and proposal finalization
        • Public comment – ICG puts the unified proposal up for public comment

        • Review – ICG reviews comments and determines whether modifications are required

        • Changes – if changes are required, the ICG will work with the operational communities to address required changes

        • Submission – when no modifications are needed, and the ICG agrees, the proposal will be submitted to the NTIA.

      Further details on IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal Assembly and Finalization Process is available here.

    2. Can I submit my own proposal?

      You can, but the ICG is not going to pick and choose among competing proposals. That would centralize the authority in the ICG's hands, while its preference is for a bottom up, consensual process. If a proposal is submitted directly to the ICG without participation from the operational communities, the ICG will forward that proposal to the relevant operational community(ies) for consideration.

      If you think your ideas have been ignored or not fairly treated in the operational community proposal development process, you can express this view directly to the ICG or in the public comment period. But, of course, this will be possible only if you have already participated in the process convened by the relevant operational community.

    3. How does the ICG make its decisions?

      Decisions over administrative matters may be approved on the basis of obvious agreement of all of those within the ICG expressing an opinion, or in cases where multiple different opinions have been expressed, may be reached by a majority vote. In all other decisions, the ICG aims to reach consensus recommendations or at least reach a recommendation that no ICG member opposes. If this is not possible, minority views opposing the recommendation will be documented and attributed in the report. It's worth noting that decisions addressed here relate to the handling and assembling of submitted proposal(s) and not decisions related to approval/rejection of the content of the proposals. The ICG guidelines for decision making are here [PDF, 124 KB].

    4. How will ICANN Board handle the final proposal submitted by the ICG?

      The ICG expects that its proposal, having achieved consensus on the Coordination Group and within the Operational Communities, will be welcomed by the ICANN Board and dutifully transmitted to NTIA.

    5. How will the community see the final proposal submitted by the ICG?

      When the ICG submits its final proposal to ICANN, this will be released to the general public.

  5. About the timeline

    1. What is the timeline of the transition process?

      The ICG announced the release of a suggested timeline [PDF, 60 KB] along with a graphic representation [XLSX, 44 KB] for the transition process. While this timeline [PDF, 60 KB] is aggressive, every attempt has been made to be flexible and allow all communities to participate effectively. Our goal is for the operational community proposals to be received by January 15, 2015, and for the transition to be complete by September 30, 2015.

    2. Has the target deadline for operational communities to submit proposals to the ICG been changed from January 15 to January 31?

      No. The target deadline has not been changed. It is still January 15, 2015.

    3. Are there alternative scenarios if the target date of Sep. 2015 is not met?

      The ICG takes the task at hand very seriously and aims to meet the target date. This should not mean, in any way, compromising the quality or functionality of the submitted transition proposal or failing to meet any of the NTIA criteria. Yet, in the unlikely event of not meeting the target date, it's up to the NTIA to decide on the next steps.

    4. What is required for the community processes to succeed by the target deadline?

      All interested and affected parties are strongly encouraged to participate directly in operational community processes. At the same time, operational communities are asked to adhere to open and inclusive processes when developing their proposals, so that all community members may fully participate in and observe those processes. Moreover, operational communities are also asked to actively seek out and encourage wider participation by any other parties with interest in their response.

  6. Interaction with ICANN accountability process

    1. What is the relationship between the work of the ICG and the process concerning ICANN accountability?

      The ICG charter says that accountability is "central" to our process. The ICG has asked the operational communities to consider oversight and accountability in their proposals. After receiving consensus proposals from the operational communities regarding IANA functions, the ICG will conduct an analysis and assessment of their implications for ICANN accountability. At that point it will liaise with track one of the ICANN accountability process on accountability elements that relate to the IANA stewardship transition process and advise it on how the results of stewardship transition process affects their requirements.

  7. About ICG outreach activities

    1. How is the ICG reaching out to the community?

      A range of meetings will be held over the forthcoming months. ICG members have scheduled a community discussion session at the ICANN 51 meeting in Los Angeles. The ICG has also confirmed several community requests for meetings with ICG in Los Angeles. Community meetings are public, minuted, and, to the extent possible, transcribed and translated. To enable more effective scheduling and the widest participation possible, the ICG therefore emphasizes the importance of full community engagement in the broader public sessions, cross-community discussions and operational communities' processes.

    2. How is ICG reaching out beyond ICANN community?

      ICG members have participated in the IANA stewardship transition session held at the Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul. In addition, ICG members are reaching out to their own respective communities, to ensure an ongoing open two-way communication channel between the ICG and the wider community.

      Should you wish to invite members of the ICG to address your organisation or conference, please address your invitation to the secretariat at Please note that while reasonable attempts will be made to accommodate requests, many of the members are volunteers and there are practical limits to the time available.

  8. About ICG resources, material and archives

    1. Where can I find more information on the transition process?

      More detailed information can be found on the ICG website.

    2. How can I follow the process development?

      The ICG operates under the principles of transparency and openness. The ICG mailing list is publicly archived, all ICG working documents are publicly available and accessible on Dropbox, recording, transcription and minutes of face-to-face meetings and conference calls are also publicly archived.

  9. Additional questions

    1. Can I submit a question?

      The ICG is always interested in receiving more questions so that we are sure to maximize the information made available to fulfill the needs and interests of the community. If you have a question that is not answered in this version of the FAQ, please send it to It should be noted that all communication with the ICG can be made public, including communication with the chair or vice-chairs.

    2. My question is not answered, what can I do?

      If you have a question that is still not answered, please send it to the following email address:

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."