ICANN resumes responsibility for internet numbering function

The US has finally accepted ICANN's proposal to perform a key coordinating function of the internet, awarding it a contract to do so for, potentially, the next seven years.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will continue to perform the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, after its contract was renewed for three years today.

Its agreement with the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) begins on 1 October 2012. It represents the longest period that ICANN will be contractually responsible for coordinating IP and AS numbers and addresses, the domain name system root and managing internet protocol numbers. The contract has two options for renewal, each for two years, and has a potential maximum period of seven years.

The award of the contract has not been without controversy. In March this year, NTIA cancelled the request for proposal (RFP) process , stating that none of the proposals it had received, including ICANN's, met its requirements. It told ICANN to come back with a better response and granted ICANN permission to continue to carry out IANA functions until then.

The US Department of Commerce has been criticised in the past for the award of the IANA contract in 2003, which many felt was awarded without a proper tender process. 

However, the process has been followed for the latest agreement. NTIA restarted the cancelled RFP process in April, during which others were welcomed to tender in what ICANN has said was an open, competitive bid. ICANN provided NTIA with a new proposal, which it said clarified and elaborated on its previous submission.

The contract came the day after ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom announced on the ICANN blog that he would be replaced by the organisation's chief operating officer of two years, Akram Atallah, but ICANN told ZDNet Australia that the timing of the announcement has nothing to do with the change in leadership and that Beckstrom had signed the contract himself.



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