Testimony of Vint Cerf
Before U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee
on Telecommunications and the Internet
8 February 2001
Dr. Vinton G. Cerf, Chairman of
House Committee on Energy and
Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet
February 8, 2001
My name is Vinton G. Cerf, and outside
of my regular employment at WorldCom,1
I am the volunteer Chairman of the Internet Corporation For Assigned
Names and Numbers (ICANN). I appreciate the opportunity to appear
before this Committee to describe the efforts of ICANN to introduce
additional competition into the Internet name space, while at
the same time prudently protecting against possible disruption
of this extremely important global resource for communications
The basic message I would like to leave
with you today is that ICANN is functioning well, especially
for such a young organization with such a difficult job. In fact,
it has made substantial progress toward the specific goals it
was created to meet, including the introduction of competition
at both the wholesale and retail levels of the registration of
names in the Domain Name System (DNS). The recent action to introduce
seven new Top Level Domains (TLDs) into the DNS will double the
number of global TLDs and at the same time will not, we believe,
create serious risks of destabilizing the Internet -- something
I know none of us wants to see. The fact that ICANN, in just
over a year, has been able to generate global consensus on this
issue -- which has been fiercely debated for most of the last
decade -- is a testament to ICANN's potential to effectively
administer the limited but important aspects of the DNS that
are its only responsibility.2
A. What is ICANN?
It is probably useful to first provide
a little background about ICANN, which is a unique entity that
may not be familiar to everyone. ICANN is a non-profit private-sector
organization with a 19-member international volunteer Board of
Directors drawn from a set of specialized technical and policy
advisory groups, and through open, worldwide online elections.
ICANN was formed in 1998 through a consensus-development process
in the global Internet community, in response to a suggestion
by the United States Government that the private sector create
such a body. It was formed to undertake certain administrative
and technical management aspects of the Domain Name System (DNS)
and the Internet address space. Domain names serve as the visible
face of the name and address mechanism of the Internet -- in
short, the way computers know where to send or receive information.
ICANN performs functions that, prior to
ICANN's creation by the private sector, were performed by contractors
to the US Government (National Science Foundation and DARPA).
ICANN is a young, and still maturing organization; it turns out
that achieving global consensus is not so easy. But it has made
great -- and many would say surprising -- progress toward the
objective shared by the vast majority of responsible voices in
the international Internet community: the creation of a stable,
efficient and effective administrative management body for specific
technical and related policy aspects of the DNS and the Internet
address space that is consensus-based, internationally representative,
B. What are the Guiding
Principles of ICANN?
There is nothing quite like ICANN anywhere
in the world, and of course it will be some time before we are
certain that this unique approach to consensus development can
effectively carry out the limited but quite important tasks assigned
to it. I am cautiously optimistic, but we are still at an early
stage of evolution, and there is much work to do. The organizational
work has been complicated by the fact that we have also been
asked to simultaneously begin to accomplish the specific operational
goals set out by the US Government in the White Paper.3 The situation is analogous to building
a restaurant and starting to serve customers while the kitchen
is still under construction; it is possible, but may occasionally
produce cold food.
The White Paper set forth four principles
that it described as critical to the success of an entity such
as ICANN: stability; competition; private, bottom-up coordination;
1. Stability is perhaps the easiest to understand. The US Government
was seeking to extract itself from what it had concluded was
no longer a proper role for the US Government -- the funding
of private contractors to manage important technical aspects
of the global Internet name and number address system -- but
only in a way that did not threaten the stability of the Internet.
As the White Paper said, and as seems obvious, "the stability
of the Internet should be the first priority of any DNS management
system." If the DNS does not work, then for all practical
purposes for most people, the Internet does not work. That is
an unacceptable outcome, and thus everything that ICANN does
is guided by, and tested against, this primary directive.
2. Competition was also an important goal set forth in the White
Paper, which stated that "[w]here possible, market mechanisms
that support competition and consumer choice should drive the
management of the Internet because they will lower costs, promote
innovation, encourage diversity, and enhance user choice and
satisfaction." Competition in the DNS structure as it stands
today is theoretically possible at both the registry (or wholesale)
level, and the registrar (or retail) level. Increasing competition
at the retail level involves only adding additional sellers of
names to be recorded in existing registries; as a result, it
generates relatively minor stability concerns. For this reason,
adding new competition at the retail level was the first substantive
goal that ICANN quickly accomplished after its formation. On
the other hand, adding new registry (or wholesale) competition
-- which is the subject of this hearing -- requires the introduction
of additional Top Level Domains into the namespace, and thus
does raise potential stability issues of various kinds. As a
result, and given its prime directive to protect stability, ICANN
has moved forward in this area in a prudent and cautious way,
consistent with recommendations from many constituencies interested
in the Internet, which I will describe in more detail later in
3. A third principle was private sector, bottom-up
consensus development, and the entirety of ICANN's processes
are controlled by this principle. ICANN is a private-sector body,
and its participants draw from the full range of private- sector
organizations, from business entities to non-profit organizations
to foundations to private individuals. Its policies are the result
of the complex, sometimes cumbersome interaction of all these
actors, in an open, transparent and sometimes slow progression
from individuals and particular entities through the ICANN working
groups and Supporting Organizations to ICANN's Board, which by
its own bylaws has the role of recognizing consensus already
developed below, not imposing it from above. Like democracy,
it is far from a perfect system, but it is an attempt, and the
best way we have yet been able to devise, to generate global
consensus without the coercive power of governments.
4. Finally, the fourth core principle on which ICANN
rests is representation. A body such as ICANN can only
plausibly claim to operate as a consensus development organization
for the Internet community if it is truly representative of that
community. The White Paper called for ICANN to "reflect
the functional and geographic diversity of the Internet and its
users," and to "ensure international participation
in decision making." To satisfy these objectives, all of
ICANN's structures are required to be geographically diverse,
and the structures have been designed to, in the aggregate, to
provide opportunities for input from all manner of Internet stakeholders.
This is an extremely complicated task, and we are not yet finished
with the construction phase; indeed, we have just initiated a
Study Committee chaired by the former Prime Minister of Sweden,
Carl Bildt, to oversee a new effort to find a consensus solution
for obtaining input from and providing accountability to the
general user community, which might not otherwise be involved
in or even knowledgeable about ICANN and its activities. Other
organizational tasks necessary to ensure that ICANN is fully
representative of the entirety of the Internet community are
also ongoing. This is hard work, and there is more to do to get
it done right.
C. What Has ICANN Accomplished
Obviously, ICANN is still a work in progress.
Nevertheless, it has, in my view, already made remarkable progress
in its young life. ICANN was created in November of 1998, and
did not really become fully operational until a year later (November
of 1999) with the signing of a series of agreements with Network
Solutions Inc., then the sole operator of the largest and most
significant registries -- .com, .net, and .org. So ICANN really
has only about 14 months of operating history. Still, even in
that short span of time, some significant things have happened.
1. The Introduction
of Retail Competition. As one of
its very first actions, ICANN created an accreditation system
for competitive registrars and, pursuant to its NSI agreements,
gave those new competitors access to the NSI-operated registries.
When ICANN was formed, there was only a single registrar (NSI)
and everyone had to pay the single price for the single domain
name product that sole registrar offered: $70 for a two-year
registration. There are now over 180 accredited registrars, with
more than half of those actively operating, and you can now register
a domain name in the .com, .net, and .org registries for a wide
range of prices and terms - some will charge zero for the name
if you buy other services, while others will sell you a ten-year
registration for significantly less than the $350 it would have
cost pre-ICANN (even if it had been available, which it was not).
While there are no precise statistics, in part because the market
is so diverse, a good estimate of the average retail price today
of a one-year domain name registration in the NSI registries
is probably $10-15 -- or less than half the retail price just
18 months ago.
At the time of ICANN's creation, NSI had
100% of the registration market for the .com, .net and .org TLDs.
Today, we estimate that NSI is registering less than 40% of new
registrations in those TLDs -- a market share drop of more than
half in that same 18-month period. There are still issues that
must be dealt with in this area; some registrars have not lived
up to their contractual commitments, and ICANN needs to ensure
that they do. And indeed, there may be too many registrars; 94%
of all registrations come from the 10 largest registrars, with
the other 80 or 90 active registrars sharing the other 6%. Name
registration is quickly becoming a commodity business, and a
commodity business, with commodity margins, will probably not
support 100 vigorous competitors. We are already starting to
see some companies wishing to leave the business, and we need
to make as sure as we can that those departures do not impair
the ability of consumers and businesses to rely on names they
have registered, and that departures or even failures do not
generate unreliability or other forms of instability in the namespace
itself. So while there are still issues to be dealt with, I think
it is widely recognized that ICANN has been very successful in
changing the retail name registration market from a monopoly
market to a highly competitive market.
2. Creation of a Cost-Effective,
Efficient Dispute Resolution System.
A second significant accomplishment has been the creation of
the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, a way to quickly and cheaply
arbitrate certain domain name disputes. While domain names themselves
cannot be trademarked, it is certainly possible for domain names
to be confusingly similar to a trademarked name, or in other
ways to be inappropriately used by someone for illegitimate means.
Since trademark and other intellectual property rules differ
from country to country, enforcing those rights is complex and
One of the policies that was generated
from the ICANN bottom-up process early on was the need for a
simple procedure to resolve the clearest and most egregious violations
on a global basis. The result, after considerable work in a variety
of ICANN forums, is the UDRP, which one commentator recently
noted is "widely viewed as a model of dispute resolution
for the 21st Century." The UDRP is limited to certain very
specific claims, is intended to require only about $1,500 in
costs and 45 days to invoke, and is required to be included in
all name registration contracts by all ICANN-accredited registrars,
thus providing the basis for global uniformity in the resolution
of this particular class of domain name disputes. Even though
the UDRP is non-binding (either party may take the dispute to
court after an unfavorable UDRP decision), it appears that has
happened in only a few dozen out of over 2,000 decisions to date.
The UDRP is, I would submit, another very
positive accomplishment of ICANN during its short existence to
date. As of this writing, parties interested in further refinement
of the UDRP are already studying its design for possible revisions.
D. The Introduction
of New Global Top Level Domains.
That brings me to the subject of today's
hearings, which is really the third major accomplishment of ICANN
in its short existence: the creation of additional competition
at the registry (or wholesale) level of the namespace. To understand
how much of an accomplishment this was, and how difficult it
has been to get to this point, we need to start with some history,
after which I will walk through the general standard utilized,
the criteria that were applied, the application process, the
evaluation process, and the selection process. I will then bring
the story up to date with a description of what has happened
since the selections were made.
Background. The Internet as we know it today was not created
with all of its present uses clearly in mind. In fact, I can
safely say (having been very much involved in the very earliest
days of the Internet) that no one had any idea how it would develop
in the hands of the general public, nor even that it would ever
reach public hands. Certainly there was little appreciation of
the increasingly critical role it would play in everyday life.
In those days, we were designing a communications
system intended for military application and used for experimental
purposes by the research and academic community, and not a system
for commerce. Internet addresses are numeric values, usually
represented by four numbers separated by "." (dots).
This is sometimes called "dotted notation" as in 192.136.34.07.
In the earliest days, computers ("hosts") were known
by simple names such as "UCLA" or "USC-ISI".
As the system grew, especially after 1985 as the National Science
Foundation began growing its NSFNET, it became clear that a system
of hierarchical naming and addressing conventions would be needed.
At that time, seven so-called "Top
Level Domains" were created: .com for commercial, .net for
networks, .org for non-commercial organizations, .gov for government
users, .mil for the military, .edu for educational institutions,
and .int for international organizations. All domain names since
that time (with an important exception I will mention momentarily)
have been subdivisions of those original seven TLDs. Thus, wcom.com,
to pick an example, is part of the .com top level domain, and
all messages sent to Vinton.G.Cerf@wcom.com
are routed pursuant to the information contained ultimately in
the .com registry's distributed database. In particular, that
database resolves "wcom.com" into a 32 bit address,
such as 192.136.34.07 [note, this is not the actual Internet
address associated with the wcom.com domain name].
The exception mentioned earlier is the
set of so-called "country code" (or "cc")
TLDs. The original seven TLDs were once called "generic"
TLDs and are now known as "global" TLDs, meaning that
there are theoretically no geographic boundaries that constrain
entries in those databases.4 In
the early days of the Internet, one of the most important values
to the scientists seeking to incubate and grow this new thing
was the spreading of connectivity to as many parts of the world
as possible. To help in that, individual countries (and some
other geographic areas) were delegated their own TLDs, such as
.au for Australia, or .jp for Japan, or .fr for France. Operation
of the registries for these ccTLDs was delegated to a wide variety
of people or entities, with the primary consideration being a
willingness to agree to operate them for the benefit of the citizens
of that geography. These original delegates were frequently academics,
sometimes government agencies, and sometimes local entrepreneurs;
the common thread was that they promised to use these TLDs to
provide access to this new thing called the Internet for local
constituents. In this way, the Internet, which started as a research
experiment in American universities, slowly became truly global.
It is worth noting that the Internet research project was international
in its scope almost immediately. It started in 1973, and by early
1975, University College London and the Norwegian Defense Research
Establishment were involved. Later, sites in Italy and Germany
became a part of the Internet research effort.
The original seven gTLDs were created in
the mid- to late-1980s; no new global TLD has been added to the
namespace since then. There are now some 245 ccTLDs, but as described,
these were intended to be for localized use, not as alternatives
for global TLDs. So as the Internet grew during the 1990s, demand
for domain names grew as well, but as a practical matter the
only global (i.e., non-national) TLDs in which businesses or
individuals could freely register a domain name were .com, .net
and .org - all administered by Network Solutions, Inc. under
a contract with the National Science Foundation.
There is a long history about how this
came about, which I don't have time to tell, but suffice it to
say that as demand exploded, NSI could not effectively operate
the registry within the financial framework of its agreement
with the National Science Foundation and sought to remedy this
by obtaining permission to charge users for registration of names
in the .com, .net and .org databases. Over time, there came to
be dissatisfaction with the service offered by NSI. In addition
(also for reasons too complicated to relate here), NSI was constrained
by its contract with NSF to charge exactly $70 for a two-year
registration with an annual $35 charge after the second year
-- no exceptions, no changes. As the number of name registrations
climbed into the millions, many felt that the charge far exceeded
the cost of accepting the registration and maintaining the database.
This unhappiness of a significant portion
of the Internet community was one of the driving forces behind
a grass-roots attempt to institutionalize the function of the
original ICANN, the Information Sciences Institute at the University
of Southern California, a government contractor that performed
a set of functions known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
(IANA). After almost three years of contentious debate, the grass-roots
effort failed to gel and the US Government (after extensive public
consultation) then called on the private sector to come forward
with a new kind of organization. The private sector responded
by creating ICANN, as a way to, among other things, encourage
the addition of competition at both the retail and wholesale
levels of the namespace.
for Introduction of New TLDs. As
described above, ICANN was able to introduce retail competition
relatively quickly after its creation, and this has produced
the expected benefits -- lower prices, more consumer choice,
and innovation. But the introduction of wholesale competition,
because it involves actually expanding the structure of the namespace,
presented and continues to present more risks. While most Internet
engineers believe that some number of additional TLDs could be
added without serious risks of instability, there is considerable
uncertainty about how many could be added without adverse side
effects, and very few engineers have been willing to absolutely
guarantee that there was zero risk of instability. Given the
increasingly critical role the Internet now plays in everyday
commercial and personal life, the almost uniform consensus in
the community was to be cautious and prudent in this process.
For example, the White Paper asserted that
"expansion of gTLDs [should] proceed at a deliberate and
controlled pace to allow for evaluation of the impact of the
new gTLDs and well-reasoned evaluation of the domain space."
In addition to concerns about the technical stability of the
Internet, many were concerned about potential costs that rapid
expansion of the TLD space might impose on business and consumers.
The World Intellectual Property Organization, which conducted
a study of intellectual property issues in connection with the
DNS at the request of the United States Government, concluded
that new gTLDs could be introduced if done "in a slow and
controlled manner that takes into account the efficacy of the
proposed measures in reducing existing problems." The Protocol
Supporting Organization of ICANN (made up of the Internet Engineering
Task Force and other Internet engineering and protocol development
bodies) said it saw no technical problems with the introduction
of a "relatively small" number of new TLDs.
In fact, every entity or organization without
an economic stake in the answer that has examined this question
has recommended the same thing: a "small" or "limited"
or "prudent" number of new TLDs should be tried first,
as a sort of proof of concept or experiment. Once this "limited"
number of new TLDs was introduced -- and the suggested numbers
roughly ranged from 1 to 10 -- and assuming there were no adverse
side effects, then additional TLDs could be introduced if there
was consumer demand for them.
ICANN Structure and Procedures.
Because ICANN is a consensus development body that relies on
bottom-up policy development, the issues of whether and how to
introduce new gTLDs were first taken up by the Domain Name Supporting
Organization (DNSO), the ICANN constituent body responsible for
name policy issues. The DNSO organized a Working Group, which
recommended that a small number (6-10) of TLDs be initially introduced,
and that the effects of that introduction be evaluated before
proceeding further. That recommendation was forwarded to the
Names Council, the executive body of the DNSO, which reviewed
the Working Group recommendation and public comments on it, and
recommended to the ICANN Board that it establish a "policy
for the introduction of new gTLDs in a measured and responsible
way." The Names Council suggested that "a limited number
of new top-level domains be introduced initially and that the
future introduction of additional top-level domains be done only
after careful evaluation of the initial introduction."
Consistent with the ICANN bylaws, the ICANN
Board accepts the recommendations of Supporting Organizations
if the recommendations meet certain minimal standards designed
to ensure that they truly represent consensus recommendations.
Thus, the Names Council recommendation was published for public
comments, and following the receipt of numerous public comments,
the ICANN staff in June 2000 issued a Discussion Draft seeking
public comments on a series of questions intended to lead to
the adoption of principles and procedures to be followed in a
"measured and responsible introduction" of a limited
number of new TLDs.5 Following
several thousand additional public comments, and considerable
discussion at a public meeting in Yokohama in July 2000, the
ICANN Board adopted a series of resolutions instructing its staff
to begin the process of accepting applications for a "proof
of concept" for the introduction of new TLDs.6
In early August, ICANN posted a detailed
discussion of the new TLD process it proposed to follow,7 and in mid-August a detailed set of Criteria
for Assessing TLD Proposals.8 These
nine criteria have been constant throughout this process, and
so they bear repeating here:
1. The need to
maintain the Internet's stability.
This speaks for itself. ICANN's overriding
obligation is to protect the stability of the Internet, and all
other objectives are secondary. Thus, any proposal that could
be shown to threaten this stability (other than any risk inherent
in any new TLD introduction) was obviously unacceptable.
2. The extent
to which selection of the proposal would lead to an effective
"proof of concept" concerning the introduction of top-level
domains in the future.
This too is largely self-explanatory. The
effort here was not to find the "best" application,
however that might be measured, but to ask the community to offer
up a set of options from which ICANN could select a limited number
that, taken in the aggregate, would satisfy the evaluation objectives
of this proof of concept. This is exactly the same approach that
ICANN had previously taken in the introduction of competitive
registrars, and which had worked so well there. The addition
of multiple registrars to the NSI registries required the creation
of new interface software, since before this time only one registrar
had been able to direct new entries in those registries. Thus,
there was some experimental effort required to make sure that
the software was ready for use by a larger number of simultaneous
registrars. ICANN first created a "test-bed," asked
for expressions of interest from the community, and accredited
only five new registrars for a period of a few months, while
they and NSI worked out the bugs in the interface software. As
soon as the test-bed was completed, ICANN accredited large numbers
of registrars, now exceeding 180.
Here, the concept is similar: from options
offered up from the community, create a limited number of new
TLDs to ensure that the DNS can accept, both technically and
practically, these additions without impairing stability in any
way. Once that is proven, additional TLDs can be created as appropriate.
3. The enhancement
of competition for registration services.
Obviously, this is the principal reason
for adding new TLDs, so one criterion for determining which applications
to accept initially is how effective they are likely to be in
creating new competition for the NSI registries. Of course, competition
takes many forms; here, one form would be analogous to .com --
a global, unrestricted registry focusing on business. To compete
in this way requires not only desire, but the capacity to effectively
compete with a competitor with high brand awareness (.com has
almost become a generic term), a very significant marketing budget,
and a large installed base of registered names which will produce
some level of renewals more or less automatically. To compete
successfully on a global basis under these circumstances requires
a significant capital investment, very significant technical
expertise (running a database of several million names that gets
hundreds of simultaneous queries every second is a complicated
matter), and a substantial marketing budget to build the kind
of brand equity that will be necessary to compete effectively
with, for example, .com.
Another way to introduce competition into
the wholesale part of the market is to offer a different kind
of product -- not a global unrestricted domain, but various kinds
of limited or restricted registries that might appeal to specific
different sectors of the market. To use a television analogy,
narrowcasting instead of broadcasting. Here, capital and marketing
expenses may be lower, but other kinds of service characteristics
may be more important.
ICANN's purpose with this criteria was
to invite a broad range of competitive options, from which it
could select a menu that, taken as a whole, would offer a number
of different competitive alternatives to consumers of domain
4. The enhancement
of the utility of the DNS.
In addition to competition, one must reasonably
consider the practical effects of the introduction of new TLDs.
The names registered in the DNS are intended to be used by people,
and sound engineering requires that human factors be taken into
5. The extent
to which the proposal would meet previously unmet types of needs.
If it is assumed that the DNS should meet
a diversity of needs, it would be a positive value if a proposed
TLD appeared to meet any previously unmet needs of the Internet
6. The extent
to which the proposal would enhance the diversity of the DNS
and of registration services generally.
Here, what was sought was diversity of
all kinds, in the hopes of creating the broadest possible --
and thus most instructive -- experiment within the limitations
recommended (i.e., a small number of new top level domains).
So, the published criteria encouraged the submission of proposals
for different kinds of TLDs (open or closed, non-commercial or
commercial, personal or business-oriented, etc.) The criteria
also sought diverse business models and proposals from different
geographic regions, for the same reasons.
7. The evaluation
of delegation of policy-formulation functions for special-purpose
TLDs to appropriate organizations.
For those proposals that envisioned restricted
or special-purpose TLDs, this criterion recognized that development
of policies for the TLD would best be done by a "sponsoring
organization" that could demonstrate that it would include
participation of the segments of the communities that would be
most affected by the TLD. Thus, with this class of application,
the representativeness of the sponsoring organization was a very
important criterion in the evaluation process.
protections of rights of others in connection with the operation
of the TLD.
Any new TLD is likely to have an initial
"land rush" when it first starts operations as people
seek the most desirable names. In addition, every new TLD offers
the potential opportunity for cybersquatting and other inappropriate
name registration practices. This criterion sought information
about how the applicant proposed to deal with these issues, and
also how it proposed to provide appropriate mechanisms to resolve
domain name disputes.
9. The completeness
of the proposals submitted and the extent to which they demonstrate
realistic business, financial, technical, and operational plans
and sound analysis of market needs.
Finally, this criterion simply emphasized
that, since the effort was a "proof of concept," the
soundness and completeness of the application and the business
plan would be important elements of the selection process. This
was not intended to be an experiment in how well the DNS or the
Internet could survive the business failure of a new TLD operator.
Nor was it intended to be clairvoyant with regard to the outcome
of any particular proposal. Thus, to the extent possible, those
applications that appeared to have the soundest business plans,
based on the most realistic estimates of likely outcomes.
Application Process. The application
process required the filing of a detailed proposal speaking to
all the criteria outlined above. It recommended that applicants
retain professional assistance from technical, financial and
management advisers, and lawyers. And perhaps most controversially,
it required a non-refundable application fee of $50,000. A brief
explanation of this particular requirement may be useful.
ICANN is a self-funding organization. It
has no capital, and no shareholders from which to raise capital.
It must recover its costs from the various constituent units
that benefit from ICANN's processes and procedures -- today,
those costs are borne by address registries, name registries,
and registrars. Its annual expenditures to date have been in
the $4-5 million range, covering employee salaries and expenses
(there are now 14 employees), and a wide range of other expenditures
associated with operating in a global setting.
Thus, there was no ready source of funds
to pay for the process of introducing new TLDs, and the ICANN
Board determined that this, like all other ICANN activities,
should be a self-funded effort, with the costs of the process
borne by those seeking the new TLDs. At that point, ICANN estimated
the potential costs of this process, including the retention
of technical and financial advisers, legal advice, the logistics
of the process, and the potential cost of litigation pursued
by those unhappy with the results. While obviously all these
elements were highly uncertain, based on its best judgment of
how many applications were likely to come in and what the likely
costs would be, and incidentally only after receiving public
comments, ICANN established a $50,000 fee. As it turns out, there
were more applications than expected, and thus the absolute costs
of processing and reviewing them were higher than expected; about
half the application revenues have already been used to cover
costs of the process to date, with considerable work left to
do and still with the potential for litigation at the end of
the process. To date, it appears that the fact of more applications
and higher costs of review and evaluation than expected have
cancelled each other out, and so it appears that the fees adopted
were about right in creating the funds necessary to carry out
I know there have been complaints by some
that they were foreclosed from this process because they simply
could not afford the $50,000 application fee, and I am sympathetic
to these concerns. But there are three practical responses that,
in my view, make it clear that this is not a fair criticism of
the process. First, the process had to be self-funding; there
simply was no other option, since ICANN has no general source
of funds. Based on costs to date and those projected, it certainly
does not seem that the fee was set too high. While there are
still application fee receipts that remain unspent, the process
is not over, and it has already consumed half of the fees collected.
Second, and as importantly, it is highly
unlikely that any individual or entity that could not afford
the application fee would have the resources to be able to operate
a successful and scalable TLD registry. The capital and operating
costs of even a small registry are thought to be considerable,
and especially if the goal is to operate a registry that charged
low or no fees for name registrations (many of the persons and
entities advancing this particular complaint are non-profit or
public interest bodies), those fees would not likely cover the
costs of operation, much less the necessary start-up and capital
costs. Of course, it is possible that, if an organization that
would otherwise have difficulty managing the costs of operating
a TLD registry were in fact awarded a new TLD, it might be able
to raise the funds through subsequent contributions or grants
or the like, but this leads us directly to the third point.
This effort was not a contest to find the
most qualified, or the most worthy, or the most attractive for
any reason of the various applicants. ICANN is not and should
not be in the business of making value judgments. What ICANN
is about is protecting the stability of the Internet and, to
the extent consistent with that goal, increasing competition
and competitive options for consumers of domain name services.
Thus, what ICANN was doing here was an experiment, a proof of
concept, an attempt to find a limited number of appropriate applicants
to test what happens when new TLDs of various kinds are added
to the namespace today -- a namespace that is vastly different
in size and in application than that which existed more than
15 years ago when the first seven global TLDs and the ccTLDs
Because this was a proof of concept, the
emphasis was on diverse business models, technical capacity,
and diversity of geography and focus -- and not on some weighing
of the relative merits, however measured, of the applicants.
Indeed, a serious attempt was made to avoid otherwise normal
business risks, such as limits on capital or other resources,
so that forseeably likely business failures did not interfere
with the data collection and evaluation process of this experiment.
Thus, it would have been impossible to accept any application
which relied on the mere hope of obtaining funding if an application
was accepted, and indeed, several of the applicants not selected
in the evaluation process were thought to be deficient just on
Under these circumstances, it was not appropriate
to encourage applications by those with limited resources, since
those limitations would almost certainly result in their not
being selected. Thus, setting the fee to recover expected costs,
without regard to the effect it had on applications, seemed then
(and seems today) the logical approach. Once this experiment
is over, and assuming it demonstrates that adding new TLDs in
a measured way does not threaten the stability of the DNS or
the Internet, I would hope that processes could be developed
to both expedite and significantly reduce the cost of new TLD
applications or, at a minimum, to deal with special cases of
TLDs with very limited scope, scale and cost.
Evaluation Procedure. Forty-seven
applications were submitted by the deadline established; three
of those were withdrawn for various reasons, and the remaining
44 were then published on ICANN's website, open to public comments,
and subjected to an extensive evaluation, applying the criteria
set forth in the various materials previously published by ICANN.
More than 4,000 public comments were received. The applications
and the public comments were carefully reviewed by technical,
financial and legal experts, and the result of that evaluation
-- a 326-page staff report summarizing the public comments and
the staff evaluation -- was itself posted on the ICANN website
for public comment and review .by the Board of Directors of ICANN.9 Another 1,000 public comments were received
on the staff report. The Board was provided with regular status
reports, interim results of the staff evaluations, and of course
had access to the public comments as they were filed.
There has been some criticism of the fact
that the full staff evaluation was not available to the public
-- and thus to the applicants -- until November, only days before
the actual Board meeting. Obviously, it would have been much
better to produce this earlier, and we tried to do so. But in
fact the timing of the release of the staff report was largely
the product of the bottom-up process that ICANN follows to generate
consensus. An important ingredient in the staff evaluations was
the substance of the voluminous -- over 5000 -- public comments
produced in the month after the applications were posted. ICANN's
job is to identify consensus, and thus input from the community
is a critical part of any Board decision. Getting that community
input, considering it, and completing the technical and financial
evaluations was a massive job.
It would have been preferable to have issued
the staff report earlier. But on the other hand, in the six days
between the posting of the report and the Board meeting, ICANN
received more than 1,000 additional public comments on the staff
report, many from the applicants responding to the evaluation
of their particular application. The ultimate question is whether
the Board got sufficient timely information on which to base
its selection decisions, bearing in mind the objective of the
exercise. I believe it did.
At its Annual Meeting in Los Angeles in
November 2000, the ICANN Board devoted most of the standard public
forum day immediately preceding the Board meeting to the new
TLD issue, with presentations by the staff of their findings,
public comments, and short presentations from the applicants.
Another point of criticism by some has been the short time --
three minutes -- allowed during this public forum for presentations
by each of the applicants, but oral presentations were never
intended to be the sole or primary source of information for
the Board. Voluminous applications (with many hundreds of pages)
had been filed by each applicant; many of them had received and
answered clarifying questions from the staff; and many of them
had provided additional material by filing material on the ICANN
public comment page (every one of the 5,000+ comments was read
by ICANN staff). The Board had access to the applications and
to the staff evaluations well ahead of the public Board meeting
at which the applications were reviewed. The opportunity to make
a presentation at the public forum was simply the final step
in an extensive process, available so that any last-minute questions
could be asked or points made.
Since there were 44 applicants, nearly
all of whom wished to speak, and since the time available (given
the other parts of the community who also wished to be heard)
was limited to about two hours, three minutes was simply all
the time available. Most used it wisely, pointing out the particular
strengths of their applications.
Some disappointed applicants have also
complained that ICANN staff refused to talk with them, or let
them respond to concerns raised by their applications. This is
not accurate; what ICANN staff refused to do is have private
conversations with the applicants, and this derives from the
very nature of ICANN as an entity. ICANN is a consensus development
body, not a regulatory agency; its decisions are intended to
reflect consensus in the Internet community, not simply the policy
preferences of those who happen to sit on its Board at any given
moment. For this process to work, the vast bulk of ICANN's work
must be transparent to the public, and so with very rare exceptions
(such as matters dealing with personnel issues), everything ICANN
does it does in public. (In fact, one of the three applications
that were withdrawn resulted from the applicants' unwillingness
to allow significant material in their application to be posted
on ICANN's website.) If the public was going to have a real opportunity
to comment on the applications, the applications themselves needed
to be public, and any substantive discussion of them had to be
public as well.
In an effort to help this process, and
still get questions answered, ICANN staff frequently took email
or other private questions, reformulated them to make them more
generically useful, and then posted them on the website as FAQs.
In addition, staff encouraged applicants to post any information
they wished on the public comment pages, where it would be read
by ICANN staff, the ICANN Board and also by any interested observer.
What staff would not do, and what was evidently very frustrating
to many of the applicants that had not previously had any experience
with the open structure and operations of ICANN, was to have
private substantive discussions with the applicants.
It is easy to understand this frustration,
especially for those disappointed applicants who had not previously
participated in the ICANN process and, as a result, did not understand
what ICANN is and how it operates and thus were surprised at
the transparency of the entire process. Still, it is hard to
see how any other process could have been followed consistent
with ICANN's consensus development process. Without access to
the entirety of the information about each applicant and each
application that was available to the Board, the Board would
not have had the benefit of public comments on some (often significant)
factors, and it would have been hard to justify its selections
as deriving from a consensus development process.
Selection Process. To understand
the selection process, we must go back to first principles. The
goal here was not to have a contest and pick winners; it was
not to decide who "deserved" to have a new TLD; it
was not even to attempt to predict the kind or type of TLDs that
might get public acceptance. The goal, articulated plainly from
the beginning of the process more than a year ago, was to identify
from suggestions by the community a limited number of diverse
TLDs that could be introduced into the namespace in a prudent
and controlled manner so that the world could test whether the
addition of new global TLDs was feasible without destabilizing
the DNS or producing other bad consequences.
This was not a race, with the swiftest
automatically the winner. It was a process that was intended
to enable an experiment, a proof of concept, in which private
entities were invited to participate if they chose to do so --
and those who did choose to participate did so voluntarily, knowing
that the odds of being selected were not high, that the criteria
for being included in this experiment were in some measure subjective,
and that the goal was the production of experimental information
that could be evaluated. Of course, when many more applications
were received than anyone had suggested should be prudently introduced
at this stage, some evaluation was necessary to attempt to identify
those suggestions that might best fit the experimental parameters
that had been laid down. But this was never a process in which
the absolute or relative merit of the particular application
Many applications with likely merit were
necessarily not going to be selected, if the goal was a small
number (remember, the entire range of responsible suggestions
for introducing new TLDs was from one to 10 new ones). And since
one objective was diversity -- of business model, of geography,
of type of registry -- it was highly likely that some qualified
applications would not be selected -- both because prudence required
the addition of only a small number of TLDs, and because our
proof of concept required data from a diverse set of new TLDs.
This was especially true of those applications seeking open,
global TLDs; while two were selected, about half of the 44 applications
sought such a charter. But it was also true of others; .geo received
a very positive evaluation from the staff, but the Board felt
that, at this proof of concept stage, there were in fact potential
risks to the operation of the DNS that could not be fully evaluated
without consultation with the technical support organization(s)
associated with ICANN.
Thus, the Board considered every one of
the 44 remaining applications at its meeting on November 16,
2000, measuring them against their collective judgment about
how well they would serve to carry out the test that was being
considered. In a meeting that lasted more than six hours, the
Board methodically reviewed, and either set aside or retained
for further evaluation, application after application, until
it was left with approximately 10 applications that seemed to
have broad consensus support. After further, more focused discussion,
that number was pared to the seven that were ultimately selected,
and which had almost unanimous Board support: .biz, .info, .pro,
.aero, .coop, .museum, and .name.10
In the aggregate, the Board concluded that this group provided
enough diversity of business models and other relevant considerations
so as to form an acceptable test bed or proof of concept.
The various TLDs have very different intended
purposes, and that is the strength of the group in the aggregate.
Two -- .biz and .info -- were advanced as essentially alternatives
to .com -- global, business-oriented registries aimed at capturing
millions of registered names around the world. In order to compete
with .com -- which has a recognized brand, a large installed
base that produces a regular stream of renewals, and a very substantial
marketing budget -- these particular applicants assumed they
would need a significant investment in both capital equipment
and marketing. The Board felt that these applicants seemed most
capable of bringing the necessary resources to bear to test whether
anyone can effectively compete with .com after the latter's significant
Two other TLDs -- .pro and .name -- were
aimed at individuals rather than businesses, but in very different
ways. .pro was aimed at licensed professionals, while .name was
aimed at any individual. The other three -- .aero (aerospace
industry), .coop (for cooperatives), and .museum (for museums)
-- were all restricted TLDs, aimed at an industry or a business
method or a type of entity, and added to the diversity of this
experimental collection of TLDs.
ICANN's objectives -- and by that we mean
to say the objectives of the general Internet community, which
ICANN tries to represent -- were to introduce a small number
of various kinds of new TLDs into the namespace in a prudent
fashion, see what happened, and then, if appropriate, based on
those results, move forward with additional new TLDs. It is certainly
conceivable that some different subset of the applications it
had before it would have met that objective as well as those
chosen, but the real question is whether the choices were reasonable,
and likely to produce the necessary information on which future
introductions could be based. It is also possible, as some of
those not selected have complained, that those selected will
have a head start (to the extent that matters) over future TLD
applicants, but this would be an inevitable consequence of any
selection of less than all applicants. Those who were not selected,
no matter who they are, were predictably going to be unhappy,
and those who were selected were predictably going to be glad,
but neither was an ICANN goal. ICANN's goal, and its responsibility,
was to find a limited collection of diverse new TLDs that could
be prudently added to the namespace while minimizing any risk
of instability. While time will tell, at this point we believe
we faithfully carried out that responsibility.
Post-Selection Process. Since November,
we have been in the process of drafting and negotiating agreements
with the selected applicants. Since these agreements will hopefully
be templates for future agreements, we are taking great care
to make sure that the structure and terms are replicable in different
environments. Since these agreements will contain the promises
and commitments under which the applicants will have to live
for some time, the applicants are being very careful. The result
is slow progress, but progress. We are hopeful that we will be
able to complete the first draft agreements within a few weeks.
The Board will then be asked to assess whether the agreements
reflect the proposals that were selected and, if so, to approve
the agreements. Shortly thereafter, this great experiment will
begin. We are all looking forward to that time.
Of course, it cannot be stressed enough
that no one knows for sure what the effects of this experiment
will be. Since there have been no new global TLDs introduced
for more than a decade, the Internet is a vastly different space
than it was the last time this happened. Of course, there have
been a number of country code TLDs introduced over that period,
and since some of those have recently begun to function in a
way quite analogous to a global TLD, it may be that we will be
able to conclude that the DNS can readily absorb more new global
TLDs. But there has never been an introduction of as many as
seven new global TLDs simultaneously, with the possibility of
a land rush that is inherent in that fact. There has never been
a highly visible introduction of multiple new TLDs in the context
of an Internet that has become a principal global medium for
commerce and communication. We do not know whether the introduction
of a number of new TLDs -- especially combined with the relatively
new phenomenon of the use of ccTLDs in a fashion never intended
(after all, .tv stands for Tuvalu, not television, no matter
what its marketers say) -- will create consumer confusion, or
will impair the functioning of various kinds of software that
has been written to assume that .com is the most likely domain
for any address.
In short, it is not absolutely clear what
effects these introductions will have on the stability of the
DNS or how to introduce new TLDs in a way that minimizes harmful
side-effects, and that is precisely why we are conducting this
experiment. The results will guide our future actions.
One of ICANN's primary missions is to preserve
the integrity and stability of the Internet through prudent oversight
and management of the DNS by bottom-up, global, representative
consensus development. Like location in real estate, the three
most important goals of ICANN are stability, stability and stability.
Once there is consensus that stability is not threatened, ICANN
is then charged with seeking to increase competition and diversity,
both very important but secondary goals. A competitive Internet
that does not function is not useful. An Internet in which anyone
can obtain the domain name of their choice, but where the DNS
does not function when someone seeks to find a particular website,
is also not useful.
In its short life, ICANN has some real
accomplishments -- made more impressive by the inherent difficulty
of developing global consensus on anything, but especially on
issues as complex and contentious as those facing ICANN. It has
achieved these accomplishments by hewing to its first and guiding
principle -- to maintain a stable, functional DNS -- and within
those limits by seeking to increase competitive options and efficient
dispute resolution. This same principle has guided the careful,
prudent way in which ICANN has approached the introduction of
new global TLDs, really for the first time in the history of
the Internet as we know it today.
ICANN's processes are and have been transparent.
The goals and procedures were derived from public comments, clearly
laid out at the beginning of the process, and all decisions were
made in full public view. Given the importance of care and prudence
in the process, and the potentially devastating results of a
misstep, ICANN has and will continue to err on the side of caution.
This may mean slower progress than some would like, but it will
also reduce and hopefully eliminate the potential for the catastrophic
effects on business and personal use of the Internet that malfunction
or other instability of the DNS would produce.
1 My curriculum
vitae is attached.
2 I have attached to
this testimony a time line
that describes the chronology of the debate over new Top Level
3 The White Paper was
a policy statement published by the Department of Commerce on
June 10, 1998. See Management of Internet Names and Addresses,
63 Fed. Reg. 31741 (1998).
4 Of course, in fact
entries in .gov, .mil, and for the most part .edu relate only
to the United States, but the other global TLDs are open to entries
from all over the world.
5 See generally ICANN
Yokohama Meeting Topic: Introduction of New Top-Level Domains,
6 See Resolutions
of the ICANN Board on New TLDs, at http://www.icann.org/tlds/new-tld-resolutions-16jul00.htm.
7 See New TLD Application
Process Overview, at http://www.icann.org/tlds/application-process-03aug00.htm.
8 See Criteria for
Assessing TLD Proposals, at http://www.icann.org/tlds/tld-criteria-15aug00.htm.
9 See Report on New
TLD Applications, at http://www.icann.org/tlds/report/.
10 See http://www.icann.org/minutes/prelim-report-16nov00.htm#00.89.
LINE CONCERNING NEW TLDS
1985 - The current, hierarchical domain-name
system (DNS) is deployed under supervision of Jon Postel at the
University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute
(USC-ISI). Seven global top-level domains (.com, .edu, .gov,
.int, .mil, .net, and .org) are established. The registry of
domain names is maintained by Stanford Research Institute, a
contractor to DARPA.
1993 - The maintenance of the domain-name
registry for the global top-level domains is assumed by Network
Solutions, Inc. (NSI) under a cooperative agreement with the
National Science Foundation.
1995 - NSI and NSF agree to shift from
charging the US Government for registration services to a user
fee of $50 (later $35) per year.
1996 - Widespread dissatisfaction with
a single source for commercial registration services causes the
Internet Society and others to charter the "International
Ad Hoc Committee" to devise methods of introducing competition.
February 4, 1997 - After a series of worldwide
consultations, the International Ad-Hoc Committee issues its
final report, recommending establishment of seven new global
top-level domains. <http://www.gtld-mou.org/draft-iahc-recommend-00.html>
July 1997 - US Government decides to look
comprehensively into the issues surrounding domain-name registration,
calling for public input on issues relating to the overall framework
of the DNS administration, the creation of new top-level domains,
policies for domain name registrars, and trademark issues.
January 30, 1998 - The Department of Commerce
issues for public comment "A Proposal to Improve the Technical
Management of Internet Names and Addresses" (the "Green
Paper"), in which it proposes that five new global top-level
domains be added. <http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/dnsdrft.htm>
June 5, 1998 - Based on significant public
comment that decisions about adding new top-level domains should
be left to the private sector, the Department of Commerce issues
its "Statement of Policy on the Management of Internet Names
and Addresses" (the "White Paper") <http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/6_5_98dns.htm>
The White Paper states that decisions about top-level domains
should be left to a private, not-for-profit organization (later
ICANN) formed by the Internet community. The White Paper gives
this advice to the to-be-formed organization:
"At least in the short run, a prudent
concern for the stability of the system suggests that expansion
of gTLDs proceed at a deliberate and controlled pace to allow
for evaluation of the impact of the new gTLDs and well-reasoned
evolution of the domain space. New top level domains could be
created to enhance competition and to enable the new corporation
to evaluate the functioning, in the new environment, of the root
server system and the software systems that enable shared registration."
The White Paper also asks the World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO) to look into the intellectual property
aspects of new top-level domains.
April 30, 1999 - After extensive global
public consultations, WIPO issues its final report. <http://www.icann.org/wipo/FinalReport_5.html>
The report recommends that "new gTLDs can be introduced,
provided that they are introduced in a slow and controlled manner
which takes account of the efficacy of the proposed new [registration]
practices and [dispute-resolution] procedures in reducing existing
May 27, 1999 - ICANN Board refers the WIPO
recommendations to ICANN's Domain Name Supporting Organization
(DNSO), which is responsible for developing consensus-based recommendations
on policies affecting administration of the DNS.
June 25, 1999 - The DNSO's Names Council
creates Working Group C to study the issues surrounding introduction
of new top-level domains. The working group eventually has over
March 21, 2000 - Working Group C submits
its report to the DNSO Names Council. The report recommends (a)
that new top-level domains be introduced, and (b) that this be
done by initially introducing 6-10 top-level domains, the results
of which would be studied.
April 18, 2000 - After public comment on
the Working Group C report, the DNSO Names Council issues a statement
supporting introduction of new top-level domains "in a measured
and responsible manner," by a vote of 16-0 (two members
absent). The statement recommends: "Because there is no
recent experience in introducing new gTLDs, we recommend to the
[ICANN] Board that a limited number of new top-level domains
be introduced initially and that the future introduction of additional
top-level domains be done only after careful evaluation of the
July 16, 2000 - After public comment (over
1,300 written comments plus an in-person forum), the ICANN Board
passes a resolution "adopt[ing] the Names Council's recommendation
that a policy be established for the introduction of new TLDs
in a measured and responsible manner." The resolution also
directs the ICANN staff to solicit, post, and independently evaluate
proposals to sponsor or operate new top-level domains for an
initial "proof-of-concept", to be evaluated before
additional introductions of top-level domains.
August 3, 2000 - ICANN staff posts an extensive
"New TLD Application Process Overview". <http://www.icann.org/tlds/application-process-03aug00.htm>
August 15, 2000 - ICANN staff posts application
In addition to historical materials, these include:
September 5 to October 2, 2000 - Period
for submission of applications to ICANN. Ultimately, 47 applications
October 2 to November 10, 2000 - During
this period, the application materials were posted on ICANN's
web site and a web-based public comment forum was operated to
collect public comments. Over 4,100 comments were submitted.
In parallel with this, an independent technical/financial/legal
evaluation team hired by ICANN analyzed the proposals. Questions
about applications were sent to applicants as necessary, and
the questions and responses were posted (and commented on by
members of the public).
November 10, 2000 - Evaluation team issues
a 326-page report, which is posted on the ICANN web site. <http://www.icann.org/tlds/report/>
A web-based public comment forum is established, and over 1,000
additional comments are received.
November 15, 2000 - An all-day in-person
public forum is held on the new TLD applications. Applicants,
expert groups, and members of the public give their comments.
November 16, 2000 - In a six-hour meeting
held before several hundred members of the public, the ICANN
Board goes through the applications and selects a diverse group
of seven applications for the initial, "proof-of-concept"
VINTON GRAY CERF
Van Nuys High School, Van Nuys, CA
Graduated: Feb 1961
B.S. Math, Computer Science, Stanford University,
Stanford, CA 1965
M.S. Computer Science, University of California, Los Angeles,
Ph.D. Computer Science, University of California, Los Angeles,
November 1999 - Present
22001 Loudoun County Parkway, F2-4115
Ashburn, VA 20147
Senior Vice President for Internet Architecture
Responsible for design and development of advanced networking
and Internet systems
September 1998 - Nov 1999
MCI WorldCom Corporation
2100 Reston Parkway, 6th Floor
Reston, VA 20191
Senior Vice President for Internet Architecture
Responsible for design and development of advanced Internet systems
July 1998 - Present
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, California 91109-8099
Distinguished visiting scientist responsible
for architecture and design of an
January 1997 - Sept 2000
World Business Review (with Casper Weinberger
and Alexander Haig)
(Television Program on High Tech Businesses)
January 1996 - September 1998
MCI Communications Corporation
2100 Reston Parkway, 6th Floor
Reston, VA 20191
Senior Vice President for Internet Architecture
Responsible for design and engineering of MCI Internet system
February 1994 - December 1995
MCI Telecommunications Corporation
2100 Reston Parkway, 6th Floor
Reston, VA 20191
Senior Vice President for Data Architecture.
Responsible for architectural design of MCI Data and Information
January 1992 - present
11150 Sunset Hills Road
Reston, VA 20190-5321
TEL: +1 703 326 9880
FAX: +1 703 326 9881
Chairman, Internet Societal Task Force
Chairman of the Board (June 1998 - June 1999)
Vice President, Chapters (June 1997 - June 1998)
President January (January 1992 - June 1995)
June 1986 - January 1994
Corporation for National Research Initiatives
1895 Preston White Drive
Reston, VA 22091
Vice President. Responsible for managing
digital library, electronic messaging and Internet research projects.
October 1982 - May 1986
MCI Digital and Information Services Company
2000 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Vice President of Engineering
Responsible for the design and implementation of MCI Mail.
September 1976 - September 1982
U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA) , Information Processing
1400 Wilson Street, 7th Floor
Arlington, VA 22209
Program manager and later, Principal Scientist.
Responsible for the packet
technology and network security research programs, including
the DoD Internet project.
November 1972 - August 1976
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305
Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering
and Computer Science.
Conducted research on packet network interconnection protocols
and co-designed the DoD TCP/IP protocol suite with Robert E.
Kahn. Taught classes in operating systems, algorithms and data
March 1967 - October 1972
Computer Science Department
University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Principal Programmer managing a number
of projects including the ARPANET Network Measurement Center,
a videographics project including a computer-controlled 16 mm
camera. Participated in development of ARPANET host protocol
June 1965 - March 1967
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
Systems Engineer supporting the QUIKTRAN
Computer Communications Consulting; 1966
Consultant to the National Library of Medicine,
Defense Communications Agency (now Defense Information Systems
Agency), MCI Communications Corp., National Security Agency,
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, MITRE Corp., Systems
Development Corp., International Institute of Applied Systems
Analysis, Department of Education, Cabledata Corp., Jacobi Systems
Corp., Systems Control Corp., GTE Sylvania Corp., ELSAG, Inc.,
National Science Foundation, Salomon Brothers, United Nations
Development Programme, MTEL Corporation, EQUIFAX Corporation,
MITRE Corporation, General Accounting Office, ACM, IEEE, National
Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine, Department of Development
Professional Memberships, Activities
Association for Computer Machinery (ACM)
(Member since 1967), (Fellow 1993)
ACM SIGCOMM (Member, since 1973), (Chairman 1987 - 1991)
ACM LA-SIGART (Member 1967 - 1972), (Chairman, 1968 - 1969)
ACM National Lecturer (1979 - 1980)
ACM Systems Software Award (for TCP/IP with R. E. Kahn), 1992
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow
American Association for the Arts and Sciences, Fellow 1995
Sigma Xi (Member 1972 - Present)
IEEE (Member 1976, Senior Member 1980, Fellow 1988)
IEEE Communications Society (Chairman, Internet Advisory Committee,
1999 - )
IEEE Koji Kobayashi Award (for TCP/IP with R. E. Kahn), 1992
IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Award (for Internet, with R. E. Kahn),
IFIP - Chairman, IFIP Working Group 6.1 (1972 - 1976)
Member IFIP Working Groups 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, and 6.5
Internet Architecture Board (Member 1985-1993), (Chairman 1989-1992)
Internet Society (Pioneer Member, since 1992), (Founding President
1992 - 1995), Board of Trustees (1992 - Present), (Vice President
for Chapters 1997-1998), Chairman (1998-1999), (Founding Chairman,
Internet Societal Task Force, March 1999-Sept 2000)
IPV6 Forum (Honorary Chairman, July 1999 - present)
Federal Newsmaker Award (Federal Computer Week, 1989)
Datamation Hall of Fame, 1989
Brain Mapping Panel, Institute of Medicine 1990-1991
Rubin I. Altizer Award, 1992
Collaboratory Panel, National Academy of Science, chair, 1992
Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award, 1993
UNIFORUM Award, 1993
Dvorak Technology Award, 1993 (BBSCON)
Info World Technology Award, 1993 (on behalf of Internet Society)
NATO Science Subcommittee on Networking, Chairman 1994 - 1998
Networld/Interop Lifetime Achievement Award, 1994
PEOPLE Magazine, 25 Most Intriguing People of 1994, December
National Academy of Engineering (Fellow, 1995)
Softquad/Rubinsky Award, 1995
Medal of the Ambassador of France, 1995
International Telecommunications Union Silver Medal, 1995
Industry Legend Award, Computer and Communications Industries
Computerworld/Smithsonian Leadership Award, 1996
Franklin Institute, Certificate of Merit, May 1996
Gettysburg College, Ph.D. honoris causa, May 1996
Nippon Electronics Corporation Computers and Communications Award,
ACM SIGCOMM Award, 1996
Internet Electronic Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award, 1997
Capitol College, Ph.D. honoris causa, May 1997
National Medal of Technology, 1997
Member of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee
University of the Balearic Islands, Ph.D. honoris causa, February
Marconi Fellowship Award, April 1998
Washington Association of Science Award, May 1998
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf Medal, June 1998
Computer Reseller News/Computer Museum Hall of Fame, Nov 1998
ETH, Zurich, Switzerland, Ph.D. honoris causa, November 1998
University of Lulea, Sweden, Ph.D. honoris causa, November 1998
Fellow, International Engineering Consortium, June 1999
George R. Stibitz Computer Award, September 1999
Werner Wolter Award, Intelevent, September 1999
Millennium Evening with President and Mrs. Clinton, October 1999
Living Legend Medal, Library of Congress, April 2000
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, Ph.D., honoris causa, May
Rovira e Virgili University, Ph.D., Tarragona, Spain, honoris
causa, May 2000
E-map World Communications Lifetime Achievement Award, Monaco,
Member of the Technical Advisory Boards
Blastoff! (June 2000 - January 2001)
Research Libraries Group (1988-1989)
Federal Networking Council (1990 - 1997)
General Magic, Inc. (1991 - 1992 )
IPVerse (1999 - present)
Bellcore (1992 - 1994)
Cyras Systems (Jan 2000 - present)
CSI, Inc. (1992 - 1995)
IRE, Inc. (1997 - September 2000)
Longitude Systems - (August 2000 - present)
Metricom (May 2000 - present)
MountWilson Council (March 2000 - present)
National Association of Securities Dealers (June 2000 - present)
Packet Design (June 2000 - present)
Tribune Entertainment Company ("Earth:Final Conflict"
1997- September 2000)
SmartAge (1999 - present)
FCC Technology Advisory Board (Jan 1999 - Jan 2000)
President's Information Technology Advisory Council (1997 - present)
Procket Networks (August 1999 - Present)
Streamcore (January 2000 - present)
US Institute of Peace (Jan 2000 - present)
Zero G Capital Fund (March 2000 - present)
Member of the Editorial Boards of:
The Internet Protocol Journal (IPJ)
Journal of Internetworking
Member of the Board of Directors:
2BNatural Inc. (April 2000 - Present)
AfriQ*Access, Inc (Oct 2000 - Present)
AVANEX (December 1999 - Present)
B2B Video Networks (April 2000 - Present)
CoSine Corporation (April 2000 - Present)
Endowment for Excellence in Education (1999 - Present)
Folger Shakespeare Library (September 2000 - Present)
FTP Software (1994 - 1998)
Gallaudet University (January 1997- Present)
Hynomics, Inc. (September 1998 - Present)
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (1999 - Present)
(Chairman Nov. 2000 - present)
Internet Policy Institute (November 1999 - Present)
Internet Society (January 1992 - Present)
Interprophet (1998 - September 2000)
WorldCom Foundation (January 1999 - Present)
Nuance (December 1999 - Present)
Television Series, Guest Appearances
Earth: Final Conflict, Episode 21 ("Destruction")
as Cy Vincent, US President's Chief of Staff (5/3/1998)
World Business Review w/Casper Weinberger,
guest expert, (1996- September 2000). From June 2000-Jan 2001,
Next Wave w/Leonard Nimoy, guest expert,
(December 1999 )
Sam Donaldson's ABC.COM, December 29, 1999
Art and Entertainment Channel's Biographies
of the Millennium, commenting on nine of the 100 biographies,
December 31, 1999
The History Channel, History of the Internet,
Jan 31, 2000
CSPAN, October 12, 1999 - White House Millennium
Evening with President Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton,
Speaking Engagements and Professional
Keynote Speaker, 1st Latin American Symposium
on Computer Communication, Mexico City, May 1981.
Program Chairman, INFOCOM 82, Las Vegas,
Nevada, March 1982 (sponsored by IEEE Computer and Communications
Keynote Speaker, INFOCOM 86, Miami, Florida,
Keynote Speaker, DECUS Networking Special
Interest Group, April 1986.
Keynote Speaker, TCP/IP Working Group Meeting,
Monterey, Calif., August 1986
Keynote Speaker, SIGCOMM 87, Stowe, Vermont,
Keynote Speaker, CRAY USERS GROUP, Minneapolis,
Keynote Speaker, IFIP WG 6.1, Atlantic
City, June 1988.
Keynote Speaker, IFIP Network Management
Workshop, Boston, May 1989.
Plenary Speaker, INTEROP 89, San Jose,
California, October 1989.
Keynote Speaker, Special Libraries Association,
Boston, April 1990.
Keynote Speaker, NISO Annual Meeting, New
York, September 1990.
Keynote Speaker, ASIS Annual Meeting, Santa
Fe, May, 1992
Keynote Speaker, DFN Semi-Annual Meeting,
Berlin, Germany, June 1993
Congressional Testimony, House Science
Subcommittee, (Ch. Valentine), March, 1993
Keynote Speaker, INTEROP, Paris, France,
Keynote Speaker, AFCEA, Fairfax, VA, January,
Keynote Speaker, COMNET, Washington, DC,
Invited Speaker, Powering Up North America,
Toronto, Canada, February, 1994
Invited Speaker, Evolution of the Internet,
HPCC, Alexandria, VA, March, 1994
Congressional Testimony, House Science
Subcommittee, (Ch. Boucher), March, 1994
Invited Speaker, National Net '94, Washington, DC, April, 1994
Keynote Speaker, ATM II, Technology Transfer
Institute, April, 1994
Invited Speaker, Internet Association of
Japan Symposium, Tokyo, Japan, April, 1994
Master of Ceremonies and Keynote Speaker,
Information Infrastructure, Ballston Partnership, April, 1994
Invited Speaker, ICC/Super Comm, New Orleans,
Keynote Speaker, Lawfirm Communications
Conference, Philadelphia, PA, May, 1994
Keynote Speaker, Rotary Club International,
Arlington, VA, May, 1994
Keynote Speaker, Thunderbird School Annual
Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, June, 1994
Invited Speaker, Multiple Panels, Internet
Society INET '94/JENC, Prague, Czech Republic, June, 1994
Invited Speaker, DISA Information Infrastructure
Symposium, McLean, VA, June, 1994
Invited Speaker, IEEE National Information
Infrastructure Symposium, McLean, VA, June, 1994
Invited Speaker, Defense Science Board,
Arlington, VA, July, 1994
Invited Speaker, CSC Vanguard Conference,
London, England, July, 1994
Keynote Speaker, Arizona State University
Data Seminar, Phoenix, AZ, July, 1994
Invited Speaker, IFIP '94, Hamburg, Germany,
Panel Moderator, Congressional Black Caucus
Foundation Conference, Telecommunications, Washington, DC, September,
Keynote Speaker, Latin American Networks
Conference, Santiago, Chile, September, 1994 (Via Satellite)
Keynote Speaker, COMNET, San Francisco,
CA, September, 1994
Invited Speaker, TCA, San Diego, CA, October,
Invited Speaker, Interchange '94, Washington,
DC, October, 1994
Keynote Speaker, Networks and Distributed
Systems, Crystal City, VA, October 1994
Keynote Speaker, Information Industries
Association, New York, October, 1994
Keynote Speaker, E-Mail World, Boston,
MA, November, 1994
Approximately 650 additional speaking engagements
over the period 1995 to 2000
Earth: Final Conflict television series,
"Destruction" episode, May 1998 (cameo role: Cy Vincet,
the President's Chief of Staff)
North American Rockwell Four Year Scholarship,
Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA, honorary Ph.D. 1996
Capitol College, MD, honorary Ph.D., Commencement speaker, 1997
University of the Balearic Islands, honorary Ph.D. 1998
ETH, Zurich, Switzerland, honorary Ph.D., 1998
University of Lulea, Sweden, honorary Ph.D., 1998
George Mason University, honorary Ph.D., 2000
University of Rovira and Virgili, Tarragona, Spain, honorary
Member of the Board of Directors, Fairfax
Resource Center for the Hearing Impaired (1987 - 1991).
President, Camelot Community Club (1987-1990)
1. Measurement of Recursive Programs, Technical
Report No. 70-43, Engineering Department, University of California,
Los Angeles, May 1970 (Master's Thesis).
2. C. S. Carr, S. Crocker, and V. G. Cerf,
"HOST-HOST Communication Protocol in the ARPA Network,"
AFIPS Proceedings of the 1970 SJCC, pp. 589-597. Reprinted in
Computer Networking, edited by Blanc and Cotton, IEEE Press,
1976, p. 7.
3. V. G. Cerf, and G. Estrin, "Measurement
of Recursive Programs" Proceedings of the IFIP Congress,
Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, August 1971.
4. R. D. Anderson and E. F. Harslem, J.
F. Heafner, V. G. Cerf, J. Madden, R. Metcalfe, A. Shoshani,
J. White, D. Wood, "The Data Reconfiguration Service --
An Experiment in Adaptable Process/Process Communication,"
Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Second Symposium on Problems in the Optimization
of Data Communication Systems, Palo Alto, October 20-22, 1971,
pp. 1-9, Reprinted in IEEE Transactions on Communications, Vol.
COM-20, No. 3, June 1972, pp. 557-564.
5. E. C. Russell, V. G. Cerf and J. Postel,
"META-5 for BPM and SEX Systems," Document #3, SEX
Users Manual, SPADE Group, 3732 Boelter California, Los Angeles,
6. V. G. Cerf, E. Fernandez, K. Gostelow,
and S. Volansky, "Formal Control-Flow Properties of a Model
of Computation," Technical Report No. ENG-7178, Engineering
Department, University of California, Los Angeles, December 1971.
7. V. G. Cerf, Multiprocessing, Semaphores
and a Graph Model of Computation, Ph.D. Dissertation, Computer
Science Department, University of California, Los Angeles, March
8. V. G. Cerf and W. Naylor, "Storage
Considerations in Store-and-Forward Message Switching,"
1972 Wescon Technical Papers, session 7, Los Angeles, September
9. K. P. Gostelow, V. G. Cerf, G. Estrin,
and S. Volansky, "Proper Termination of Flow-of-Control
in Programs Involving Concurrent Processes," Proceedings
of the ACM Annual Conference, Boston, August 1972, pp. 742-754.
10. V. G. Cerf and W. Naylor, "Selected
ARPA Network Measurement Experiments," COMPCON 72 Digest
of Papers, September 12-14, 1972, San Francisco, pp. 201-204.
11. V. G. Cerf, "Parry Encounters
the Doctor," DATAMATION, July 1973, pp. 62-64.
12. V. G. Cerf and R. E. Kahn, "A
Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunications," IEEE Transactions
on Communication, Vol. COM-22, No. 5, May 1974, pp. 637-648.
Reprinted in Computer Networking, edited by Blanc and Cotton,
IEEE Press, 1976, pp. 95-106.
13. V. G. Cerf, D. D. Cowan, R. C. Mullin,
and R. G. Stanton, "Topological Design Considerations in
Computer-Communication Networks," Computer Communication
Networks, (R. L. Grimsdale and F. F. Kuo, eds.), Academic Book
Services, Holland, Netherlands, April 1974.
14. V. G. Cerf and C. Sunshine, "Protocols
and Gateways for Interconnection of Packet Switching Networks,"
Proceedings of the Seventh Hawaii International Conference on
System Sciences, Western Periodicals Co., Hawaii, 1974, pp. 105-108.
15. V. G. Cerf, "An Assessment of
ARPANET Protocols," Proceedings of the Jerusalem Conference
on Information Technology, 1974.
16. V. G. Cerf, D. D. Cowan, R. C. Mullin
and R. G. Stanton, "Networks and Generalized Moore Graphs."
Proceedings of the Manitoba Conference on Numerical Mathematics,
17. V. G. Cerf, D. D. Cowan, R. C. Mullin
and R. G. Stanton, "A Partial Census of Trivalent Generalized
Moore Networks," Combinatorial Mathematics III, Proceedings
of the Third Australian Conference held at the University of
Queensland, May 1974, Lecture Notes in Mathematics 452, Springer-Verlag,
Berlin, 1975, pp. 1-27.
18. V. G. Cerf, D. D. Cowan, R. C. Mullin,
and R. G. Stanton, "A Lower Bound on Average Path Length
in Regular Graphs," Networks, Vol. 4, 1974, pp. 335-342.
19. V. G. Cerf, "ARPANET Protocols,"
Computer Networks, Infotech State-of-the-Art Report No. 24, Infotech
Information Ltd., Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, 1974.
20. V. G. Cerf, D. D. Cowan, R. C. Mullin,
and R. G. Stanton, "Trivalent Generalized Moore Networks
on Sixteen Nodes," UTILITAS MATHEMATICA, Vol. 6 (1974) pp.
21. C. E. Agnew, P. Baran, D. C. Caulkins,
V. G. Cerf, and R. C. Crane, "New Applications for ARPANET-Developed
Information Processing Technology, Vol. I., On the Automation
of the Procurement Process: Present Status, Feasibility for Improvements,
Proposed Next Steps, and Payoffs," Cabledata Associates,
Inc., Palo Alto, California, February 3, 1975, 112, p. R-170.
NTIS AD/A-006 900/5WC.
22. V. G. Cerf, A. McKenzie, R. Scantlebury,
and H. Zimmermann, "Proposal for an International End to
End Protocol," ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review,
Vol. 6, No. 1, January 1976, pp. 63-89.
23. K. Uncapher and V. G. Cerf, "The
ARPANET -- A User Perspective," Sao Paulo, Brazil, October
24. R. W. Sanders, V. G. Cerf, "Compatibility
or Chaos in Communications," Datamation, March 1976, pp.
25. V. G. Cerf, "Research Topics in
Computer Communication," Computers and Communication, Proceedings
of the Federal Communications Commission Planning Conference,
November 8-9, 1976, AFIPS Press, Montvale, New Jersey, 1976.
26. V. G. Cerf and A. Curran, "The
Future of Computer Communications." Computers and Communication,
Proceedings of the Federal Communications Commission Planning
Conference, November 8-9, 1976, AFIPS Press, Montvale, New Jersey
1976. (Also reprinted in DATAMATION, May 1977, pp. 105-114.)
27. J. M. McQuillan and V. G. Cerf, A Practical
View of Computer Communications Protocols, Tutorial Day Presentation,
Fifth Data Communications Symposium, Snowbird, Utah, September
27-29, 1977. (IEEE Press, Catalog No. EHO 137-0, 1978.)
28. V. G. Cerf and P. T. Kirstein, "Issues
in Packet Network Interconnection," Proceedings of the IEEE,
Vol. 66, No. 11, November 1978, pp. 1386-1408.
29. Robert R. Fossum and V. G. Cerf, "Communications
Challenges for the 80s," SIGNAL, Vol. 34, No. 2, October
1979, pp. 17-25. Reprinted in High Technology Initiatives in
C3I, (S. J. Andriole, ed.), AFCEA International Press, Washington,
30. V. G. Cerf, "DARPA Activities
in Packet Network Interconnection," Interlinking of Computer
Networks, K. G. Beauchamp, ed.), NATO Advanced Studies Institute
Series, D. Reidel Publishing, London, 1979.
31. V. G. Cerf, "Packet Communication
Technology," Protocols and Techniques for Data Communication
Networks, (F. F. Kuo, ed.), Prentice Hall, New York, 1980.
32. V. G. Cerf, "Protocols for Interconnected
Packet Networks," Computer Communication Review, Vol. 10,
No. 4, October 1980.
33. V. G. Cerf, "Aspirations and Trends
in Computer Networking Technology," Keynote speech, First
Latin American Symposium on Computer Networks, Mexico City, May
34. V. G. Cerf, "Internetting and
Electronic Message Systems," Electronic Mail and Message
Systems: Technical and Policy Issues, (R. E. Kahn, A. Vezza and
A. Roth, eds.), AFIPS Press, 1981.
35. V. G. Cerf and R. E. Lyons, "Military
Requirements for Packet-Switched Networks and Their Implications
for Protocol Standardization," EASCON 1982 Proceedings;
also, Proceedings of the SHAPE Technology Center Symposium on
the Interoperability of Automated Data Systems, November 1982.
36. V. G. Cerf, H. Clausen, F. Deckelman,
H. Dodel, R. E. Kahn, J. Laws, P. T. Kirstein and P. Spilling,
"Cooperative U.S./European Research on Command and Control
System Interoperability," Proceedings of the SHAPE Technology
Center Symposium on the Interoperability of Automated Data Systems,
37. V. G. Cerf and E. Cain, "The DoD
Internet Architecture Model," Proceedings of the SHAPE Technology
Center Symposium on the Interoperability of Automated Data Systems,
November 1982. Also appeared in Computer Networks, Vol. 7, No.
5, October 1983.
38. V. G. Cerf, "Packet Satellite
Technology Reference Sources," Proceedings of the DFVLR
Symposium on Satellites and Data Communication, Cologne, Federal
Republic of Germany, September, 1982.
39. V. G. Cerf, "The MCI Mail Architecture",
Networks 84, Online Conferences, London, 1984.
40. V. G. Cerf, "Computer-based Messaging",
in Data Communi- cations Networks and Systems (T. C. Bartee,
ed.), Howard W. Sams & Co., Division of MacMillan, Inc.,
Indianapolis, IN, 1986.
41. V. G. Cerf, "On the Role of Paper
in an Electronic Messaging Environment," in Proceedings
of the IFIP Congress '86, Dublin, Ireland, September 1986.
42. V. G. Cerf, "Information Infrastructure,"
a column appearing in IEEE Networks Magazine, 1987 - 1990.
43. Constance. M. Pechura, Joseph. B. Martin
(eds.), Mapping the Brain and its Functions, Institute of Medicine,
National Academy Press, 1991 (V.G. Cerf member of committee)
44. V. G. Cerf, "Networks," Scientific
American, Vol 265, No 3, September 1991, p. 72.
45. V. G. Cerf, "EXPERT OPINION: Warming
trend with turbulence in the lower layers," IEEE SPECTRUM,
Vol. 30, No. 1, January 1993, p. 42 (part of article on Data
46. V. G. Cerf (Ed.), National Collaboratories:
Applying Information Technologies for Scientific Research, National
Academy of Sciences, Computer Science Technology Board, 1993.
47. V. G. Cerf, "A National Information
Infrastructure," Connexions, Vol. 7, No. 6, June 1993; also
in Boardwatch, May 1993 as "Dr. Cerf Goes to Washington."
48. V.G. Cerf, "Research Pays Off,"
SCIENCE, Vol. 271, p.1343, 8 March 1996 49. V. G. Cerf and John
Klensin, "Documenting the Information Age: What do we know?",
History of the Internet Conference, Feb 1997 50. V. G. Cerf,
"When They're Everywhere," Beyond Calculation, Copernicus,
Springer Verlag, 1997
51. V. G. Cerf, "Our Digital Future,"
The NOVA Reader; Science at the Turn of the Millennium, TVBooks,
52. Robert E. Kahn and Vinton G. Cerf,
"What Is The Internet (And What Makes It Work)", Internet
Policy Institute, December 1999.
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