Edit: Last Q&A added 8 April 2015
There is a lot of confusion about the IANA oversight transition, so we pulled together this Q&A to answer your questions about what is really happening. As we get ready to discuss this topic as a community at ARIN 34, we want to make sure you have a clear understanding of the issues. Is the US government giving the Internet away?
No, the intention has always been to transfer the oversight of the Internet Assigned Names and Numbers (IANA) functions away from the U.S. government to the global community.
Exactly what was proposed in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) 14 March announcement?
The NTIA intends to transfer the role of oversight of the IANA functions it currently performs to the global multistakeholder Internet community.
What does it mean, NTIA has “oversight” of the IANA functions?
The role of NTIA is to ensure that ICANN meets the obligations as outlined in the IANA functions contract. Visit this page for background on the IANA functions role.
Where can I find the IANA Functions Contract?
Will ICANN continue to perform the IANA functions after the transition?
Yes, ICANN will continue to perform the operational role associated with the IANA functions; it is only the IANA oversight role of NTIA that is changing.
What is the role today of NTIA in addressing?
Today NTIA has a procedural oversight role in the performance of the IANA functions. For example, the RIRs might expect the NTIA to review IANA’s performance if there was an issue with how IANA was managing the allocation of resources to the RIRs. According to the NTIA, its role is largely symbolic; it is not an operational role.
Why is ICANN in charge of the process?
ICANN is not in charge of the transition process. As the entity that performs the IANA functions, ICANN was asked to facilitate the process. It is now in the hands of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG). The NTIA will determine if the proposal being developed by the ICG is acceptable.
What is the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG)?
As defined by the ICG Charter: The ICG acts as a liaison to the all interested parties including those with direct operational or service relationship with IANA, namely names, numbers and protocol parameters. The ICG will solicit proposals from the operational or service communities in addition to the broader community. The ICG will then assess the outputs of the three operational communities for compatibility and interoperability. Following the assessment, the ICG will assemble a proposal for the transition.
Is ARIN participating in the process?
ARIN is participating through the Number Resource Organization (NRO) and NRO Number Council with three representatives as members of the ICG. The NRO will put forth a proposal based on the inputs of all five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs).
ARIN will be contributing its community input following the ARIN 34 meeting this fall.
How can I get involved or stay informed throughout the transition process?
There will be an email consultation that will begin before and continue after the ARIN 34 meeting. There will also be a session on 9 October during the ARIN 34 meeting where we will be accepting feedback either in person or via remote participation.
Is there anything I need to do?
The best thing to do is to stay informed. You can follow the process through the both the ICANN and Team ARIN websites. In addition there will be open discussions at the ARIN 34 meeting in Baltimore, and you can contribute your opinions during the consultation.
What happens if agreement is not reach by September 2015?
Nothing. The current IANA functions contract has the possibility of two, two-year extensions. The two, two-year extensions afford the community time to continue to discuss to come to an agreement.
When will this actual transition occur?
Once an agreement has been reached on the new oversight mechanism, the actual transition process will begin.
Who will have oversight after NTIA?
In general, the global multistakeholder community, the specifics of which are being determined through the consultation process.
When the oversight of IANA changes, who will be in charge of Internet number resource global policies and how could this affect global policy?
The RIR communities will continue to be responsible for initiating and developing global policies. Global policy will not be affected by a change in who has oversight responsibility for the IANA functions.
Will a change in IANA oversight impact how IP addresses are allocated?
No. The ARIN community will continue to develop the policies under which ARIN allocates Internet number resources.
How will any change in IANA oversight impact ICANN accountability?
There is a separate activitiy going on to review ICANN accountability, the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG), and the results of that review will be considered by the ICG team in their IANA planning activities. ARIN had legal analysis performed by Caplin & Drysdale of ICANN’s Bylaws to assist the ICANN accountability review effort, the results of which (including potential bylaw changes) were provided to the CCWG for reference in their legal efforts and not as a recommendation.