[council] Issue Update on the Fast Track Process for the introduction of IDN ccTLDs

Denise Michel denise.michel at icann.org
Wed Jun 18 06:41:33 UTC 2008

Below (and attached in Word with hyperlinks) is an expanded *Issue
Update*on the Fast Track process for the introduction of IDN ccTLDs.
It has been
prepared by ICANN Staff to support community discussions at the Paris ICANN
meeting and beyond, and is being distributed to all Supporting Organizations
and Advisory Committees, and posted on ICANN's website.

In addition to briefly summarizing recommendations in the IDNC Working
Group's Draft Final Report and related issues under discussion, the *Issue
Update *contains links to more IDN information, and a list of IDN-related
activities scheduled in Paris.

We hope you find it useful and encourage you to share it.


Denise Michel
ICANN VP, Policy
policy-staff at icann.org




June 2008

* Prepared by ICANN Staff to support community discussions.*

ICANN's IDNC Working Group (IDNC WG) is finalizing its report on feasible
methods that would enable the timely and efficient ("fast track")
introduction of a limited number of non-contentious IDN ccTLDs, while a
global, long-term IDN ccTLD policy is being developed by the ccNSO.  On 13
June, 2008, the IDNC WG issued a Draft Final Report providing advice on
issues that need to be considered in developing (1) a mechanism for the
selection of the IDN ccTLD string, and (2) a mechanism to designate an IDN
ccTLD manager.  During the ICANN Paris meeting, the Report is expected to be
finalised by the IDNC WG, discussed by several Supporting Organisations and
Advisory Committees, and will be the focus of a public workshop.  The Report
also has been posted to encourage additional discussion at


As a result of the ICANN Board resolution approved at the Los Angels
meeting, the IDNC WG was established according to its charter.  The IDNC WG
is comprised of Members of the GAC and the ccNSO (including their Chairs),
two members each from the GNSO and the ALAC (and additional observers from
the GNSO), one member from the SSAC, one representative of technical
community, and two ICANN Staff members. Chairs of the IDNC WG are Mrs. Young
Eum Lee, member of the ccNSO Council, and Ms. Manal Ismail, GAC
Representative from Egypt.

The purpose of the Fast Track process is to introduce a limited number of
non-contentious IDN ccTLDs, associated with the ISO 3166-1 two-letter codes
in a short time frame to meet near term demand. The scope of the IDNC WG was
limited to developing feasible methods (for the introduction of a limited
number of IDN ccTLDs) that do not pre-empt the outcomes of the ccNSO's IDN
policy development process.

In developing feasible methods, the IDNC WG was required to take into
account and be guided by: the overarching requirements of stability and
security; IDNA protocols and IDN guidelines; input of the technical
community with respect to implementation of IDNs; and current practices for
the delegation of ccTLDs.

The working group published two previous draft reports for comment from the
global community:  a draft Initial Report to canvass the community on the
topics that needed to be covered; and a draft Interim Report to canvass the
community on a methodology.

As indicated in the IDNC WG Initial and Interim Reports, the Fast Track
requires two specific mechanisms: 1) A mechanism for the selection of the
IDN ccTLD string; and 2) A mechanism to designate an IDN ccTLD manager.

Based on the input received, the working group developed a number of general
guiding principles that, in conjunction with the overarching requirements,
guide conditions for the methodology.  The methodology describes (at a high
level) the activities, roles, and responsibilities of the actors involved in
the processes.

The IDNC WG anticipates that this will need to be further detailed by ICANN
Staff as a matter of implementation. Their Report notes that, in order to
implement the recommended methodology, some of the current procedures and
practices (for instance the practices relating to the maintenance of the
repository and requirements for an IDN table), may need to be changed. The
working group indicates, however, that identifying these procedures, or
suggesting changes, is considered a matter of implementation.

Draft Final Report Content

The IDNC WG and other groups in the ICANN community are continuing their
discussions of the Report during the ICANN meeting in Paris. Therefore, the
recommendations set forth in the Draft Final Report are subject to change.

Guiding principles developed by the IDNC WG, based on input received during
the various comment periods, are summarized below:

A. Ongoing Process – The Fast Track should be an ongoing process to enable a
selected IDN ccTLD manager to enter when ready, but should end when a global
IDN ccTLD policy has been adopted by the ICANN Board.

B. Non pre-emption of overall policy – The Fast Track should not pre-empt
final IDN ccTLD policy, so it must be a simple, clear and limited solution.

C. Purpose of Fast Track is to meet pressing demand – The Fast Track should
only be available where there is a pressing demand in the territory
(evidenced by readiness to meet the requirements).

D. Fast Track only for non-Latin scripts – To avoid pre-empting the ccNSO's
PDP, which will consider the possibility of IDN ccTLDs in Latin script,
non-Latin script must be used in the Fast Track.

E. The proposed string and delegation request should be non-contentious
within the territory – "Non-contentious" is evidenced by the
support/endorsement of the relevant stakeholders in the territory for the
selected string as a meaningful representation of the name of the territory,
and for the selected delegate.

F. The Fast Track is experimental in nature – This should be taken into
consideration when delegating names, but should not be interpreted to mean
that delegation under the Fast Track will be temporary.

G. Criteria determine the number of IDN ccTLDs under the Fast Track – The
number of eligible IDN ccTLDs should be determined by criteria to select the
IDN ccTLD string, and to designate the IDN ccTLD manager.

The methodology recommended by the IDNC WG includes three stages:

1.    Territory or country preparation of actions required to enter the Fast
Track process;
2.    Due diligence (evaluation) and submission of delegation request to
ICANN; and
3.    IANA Delegation Process.

These stages are described in detail in the attached Draft Final Report and
were devised to enable:

•    The relevant actors in the territory to self-assess and determine
whether the delegation of an IDN ccTLD under the Fast Track process is
feasible; and
•    The relevant stakeholders to select a string for the IDN ccTLD and
prepare for a delegation request.

The Report proposes the following criteria to select a string for an IDN

1.    To be eligible under the Fast Track a territory should be listed on
the International Standard ISO 3166-1 Codes for the representation of names
of countries and their subdivisions – Part 1: Country Codes.
2.    Identify "official" language and script. An official language is
considered to be one that has a legal status in the territory or that serves
as a language of administration. The script should not be based on the 26
letters of the Latin alphabet -- a-z -- that are encoded in US-ASCII.
3.    Select a string that meets meaningfulness and technical requirements.
A string is considered meaningful if it is in the official language and:
  a.    Is the name of the Territory; or
  b.    A part of the name of the territory that denotes the territory in
the language; or
  c.    A short-form designation for the name of the territory, recognizably
denoting it in the indicated language.

Ongoing Discussions and Potential Implementation Issues

Included below are some of the issues expected to be part of the discussions
during the Paris meeting, within the IDNC WG as they finalize the Report,
and at stakeholder group meetings and the public workshop.

- Request should be non-contentious within the territory

A minority group of IDNC WG members have suggested that Principle E should
reflect that the selected string should not only be non-contentious within
the territory, but also be non-contentious across territories. The majority
of the IDNC WG indicated opposition to broadening the principle. The basis
for their opposition included avoiding the implications and impact of an
objection procedure under the Fast Track.

- Objection Procedure

Against including an objection procedure: Some IDNC WG members have
suggested that introducing an objection procedure could impinge on the
sovereignty of territories in determining the name of their territory, and
would add an unnecessary complication to the process. Assuming that a
selected string meets the specified criteria, an objection procedure would
enable territories or other entities to co-determine or object to the name
of a country, dependency, or other area of particular geopolitical interest.

Support for including an objection procedure: Some IDNC WG members expressed
the view that an objection procedure, or at least a formal public comment
process, is necessary to enable ICANN and the ICANN Board to deal with
objections to a selected string from the worldwide community. They have
noted that, without a pre-defined process and criteria, the Board is left
dealing with public comments on its own and potentially through ad-hoc

For transparency reasons, the IDNC WG did agree that the selected string,
once vetted against technical and linguistic criteria, should be published
on the ICANN website.

- Legal Arrangement Between ICANN and IDN ccTLD Manager

The IDNC WG has not made any recommendation on a legal arrangement,
considering it outside their scope to advise the ICANN Board on this
matter.  It is deemed to be an implementation issue.

Although the IDNC WG discussed including a statement in the Final Report on
the issue of ensuring compliance to IDNA Protocol and IDN Guidelines, the
views of the WG diverged on this topic.

Some IDNC WG members questioned the need for a compulsory arrangement
between ICANN and the IDN ccTLD manager. Other working group members – and
the GNSO Council – have stated that the IDN ccTLD registries should be
required to follow the ICANN IDN guidelines in the same way as gTLD
registries, and ICANN should have a contract or some other form of agreement
with the IDN ccTLD operator that includes appropriate technical, operational
and financial requirements. Such an arrangement was viewed to ensure a
smooth transition of the Fast Track IDN ccTLD to the ccNSO PDP IDN process
once it is established.

In addition, some working group members have insisted that a mechanism will
be required to ensure the security and stability of the DNS (including
compliance with IDNA protocol and IDN guidelines), which is an overarching
requirement for Fast Track.

- Financial Contribution

The IDNC WG has not considered financial contributions (either an
application fee or an annual contribution) in its discussions. It was
considered to be out of scope, and more appropriately addressed as an
implementation issue.  However, this issue was raised at several public
meetings. Based on these discussions, some members of the IDNC WG expressed
a view that any financial contribution should be given on a voluntary basis,
as is currently the case for (ASCII) ccTLDs, while other members (and the
GNSO Council) publicly expressed that they expect a reasonable financial
contribution from IDN ccTLDs as part of a legal arrangement with ICANN.

- Timing Issues

Initiation of the Fast Track will enable introduction of IDN ccTLDs and new
(IDN) gTLDs at about the same time. ICANN Staff is coordinating efforts so
that work between the two processes can take advantage of each other and aim
at a similar launch date. However, should one process be delayed for
unexpected reasons it is not considered a viable solution to delay the other
process (this view has been reinforced by the GNSO Council).

ICANN Stakeholders

It is anticipated that the ccNSO, GAC, GNSO Council, GNSO Constituencies
(Registrars, Registries, Business, IP, ISP, and NCUC), ALAC, and others will
develop formal opinions during or soon after the Paris ICANN meeting.

Implementation Work

In addressing the feasibility of implementing the IDNC WG recommendations,
it is expected that ICANN Staff will need to explore:

•    A request for information process (RFI) on expected use of the Fast
•    Issues surrounding the establishment of the Technical Committee;
•    Issues surrounding the establishment of the Language Expert Advisory
•    Development of a process to receive submissions of a selected string;
•    Issues surrounding evidence of support by relevant stakeholders in
territory for selected IDN ccTLD string;
•    Coordination between ICANN, the Technical Committee, and LEAP; and
•    Conducting review, and potential update, of IANA practices relating to
the maintenance of the repository and requirements for an IDN table.
Reference Documents & Events
•    5 October 2007 the ccNSO letter to ccTLD managers including survey to
assess the interest and readiness for introduction of IDN ccTLDs.
•    5 December 2007, results of ccNSO survey, showing 86% of the
respondents had an interest in a fast track approach.
•    2 November 2007, ICANN Board chartered IDNC WG and invited SOs, ACs to
appoint members.
•    14 December 2007, IDNC WG established with members from the GAC, ccNSO
GNSO, ALAC, SSAC, Technical Community and ICANN Staff.
•    2008 - IDNC WG conducted numerous teleconference meetings, face-to-face
meetings in New Delhi and Geneva, and numerous public workshops and
discussions in conjunction with other regional meetings, such as in New
Delhi and Dubai.
•    1 February 2008, IDNC WG posted "Discussion Draft of the Initial
Report" for public comment.
•    11 February 2008, Draft Initial Report was discussed at ICANN New Delhi
•    4 April 2008, IDNC WG posted Interim Report for public comment.
•    April, May 2008, Interim Report discussed at the ICANN Regional Meeting
in Dubai, UAE, the RIPE meeting in Berlin, and the APTLD meeting in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia.
•    13 June 2008, IDNC WG posted Draft Final Report for public comment.
•    21 June 2008, IDNC WG meeting at Paris ICANN meeting, along with public
workshop. The GAC, ccNSO, GNSO, and ALAC have the Final Report on their
agenda for discussion in Paris.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/council/attachments/20080617/4098ea35/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Type: application/msword
Size: 93184 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/council/attachments/20080617/4098ea35/ICANNISSUEUPDATEFASTTRACKJune2008.doc>

More information about the council mailing list