(Another live update from ICANN 46)
Speaking during the organization's 46th International Meeting in Beijing, ICANN's CEO Fadi Chehadé explained that the new Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) is almost ready to be signed.
Chehadé commented that all of the Law Enforcement requests that led to the current contract (which dates back to 2009) is being put up for renegotiation and has now been addressed.
A new registrar contract has been sent to all intents and purposes been made a prerequisite for rolling out new gTLDs when ICANN recently announced that the new Registry contract would require TLD operators to only use registrars that have signed this new, 2013, RAA.
The registry contract is also one of the key documents needing finalization before ICANN can release new gTLDs into the virtual world. However, progress on that contract seems less advanced, with the registry community deciding in Beijing to form a negotiating team to further discussions with ICANN's new gTLD program staff.
Chehadé is pushing hard to get closure on both documents in time for an upcoming ICANN Board meeting, and is tentatively set for April 20th, where it is hoped that the Board would be able to approve these as final. This would in turn pave the way for a planned April 23rd launch of new gTLDs where the first new gTLD operator contract would be approved.
ICANN has planned a PR event in New York on that day to celebrate (NYC Major Bloomberg had been invited but will, it seems, not be able to make it). So the date appears to be very firmly set in stone. But of course, to be able to approve the first new gTLD contract on April 23rd, ICANN will first need to be able put final contracts before registries and registrars in front of them.
Written by Written by Stéphane Van Gelder (Chairman and Managing Director of Stéphane Van Gelder Consulting Ltd.)
10 April 2013