New Zealand is one of the countries demanding more representation and a new relationship with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organisation that runs the internet's basic technical issues - including the system for managing and allocating domain names.
In Stockholm last week, a working group of the operators of the country-code top level domains (ccTLDs) (which include Britain, France and New Zealand as well as nearly 40 other countries) voted to withdraw from the ICANN supporting organisation, Domain Name Supporting Organisation (DNSO). The vote called for direct dealings with ICANN rather than with the DNSO. As a result of the vote, ccTLDs will no longer pay fees to the DNSO, though they will remain part of ICANN and continue to support the organisation as a whole. The vote was unanimous.
"The withdrawal is seen as the next step in the process of forming a new stand-alone supporting organisation," says a media release from the Internet Society (ISOCNZ) which had two representatives at the recent ICANN meeting in Stockholm.
"ICANN is intended as a 'bottom up' organisation, which currently has three supporting organisations," says ISOCNZ. DNSO is one of these three organisations and all ccTLDs report in to it. The problem for ccTLDs is they pay towards the ICANN budget yet the DNSO focuses mainly on issues that aren't considered relevant to ccTLDs. ISOCNZ feels this sidelines some of the issues faced by ccTLDs.
"The ccTLD constituency has been expected to contribute one third of the ICANN budget (approximately $US1.5 million) with little ICANN attention being focused on ccTLD issues and no ccTLD representation on the ICANN board."
Having representation at this higher level means the ccTLDs will have more of a say in the development of the domain name system that is at the root of the internet.
The next step for the ccTLDs is to prepare a formal presentation for ICANN requesting the new support organisation. Such a presentation should be given at ICANN's next meeting in September or at the final meeting of the year in December.
The new support organisation (ccSO) would join the existing DNSO and its siblings, the Protocol Supporting Organisation (PSO) and Address Supporting Organisation (ASO).