I will be traveling to Durban, South Africa late this week to represent the i2Coalition at the next ICANN meeting on July 12 to 19. This will be i2Coalition’s third trip to an ICANN conference, as we continue our commitment to engaging in, and showing our substantial support for, the multistakeholder process of Internet governance. The i2Coalition has decided to apply to the ISPCP constituency within ICANN. We believe that it is the best place that exists today for our voice.
Vast changes in Internet governance are being planned and our support for what works is crucial now. While ICANN’s role is traditionally limited to domains, its role in Internet governance is expanding. However, domains do make up a crucial part of the Internet ecosystem that i2Coalition companies help create and we plan on having a voice in how ICANN continues to operate.
I will be carrying several key goals into ICANN, but chief among them is finding a permanent home for the i2Coalition at ICANN. At this time, we see a paucity of engagement from the Internet ecosystem that the i2Coalition represents. Domain names play a significant role in the businesses of hosts, both in terms of new business opportunities, and the operations of their customers. Their businesses are greatly affected by the discussions at ICANN, but no specific home is currently afforded to them within the existing General Name Service Organizations (GNSO) constituency structure.
The i2Coalition is made up of a broad range of Internet infrastructure companies, including web hosting providers, data centers, cloud infrastructure providers, registrars and registries, and the companies that support those organizations. The i2Coalition supports the companies that build and operate the technology that represents the core of our industry. Integration into the global Internet advocacy community and support for the multistakeholder process has been identified by i2Coalition’s Board of Directors as a key step in our goal of providing a voice for the companies that build the Internet’s ‘nuts and bolts.’
How ICANN is run, governed, the role it plays in the Internet ecosystem, and the method is uses to administer top level domains are all issues that are of great importance to i2Coalition members. Decisions made at ICANN in the next several years have the potential to fundamentally alter the structure of the Internet. One needs only to look at the gTLD rollout, the updating of WHOIS, and the updating of the UDRP as examples of major changes that dramatically impact the ecosystem. Infrastructure companies have deep experience with the nature of these obligations. Accordingly, we have a plan to make our voice heard within ICANN’s decision making process.
We have learned from our experience advocating in Congress that it is difficult to support our members without help from other aligned organizations. While we are already working with organizations, such as the European Internet Service Provider Association (EUROISPA) who have deep involvement at ICANN, we believe that there is significant opportunity for coalition building. This coalition building will not only help us achieve our goals within ICANN, it will help us accomplish them in other areas, including in the U.S. where these organizations are also active.
Support of the multistakeholder process is crucial to ensuring that the Internet remains the vibrant engine for economic progress and freedom. As we saw with the attempt by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to begin to exert supranational governmental regulation over the Internet, the institutions that currently support the Internet are vulnerable to attack. While ICANN is not the only multistakeholder organization supporting the Internet, it is one of the most important to the Internet infrastructure industry.
Showing that our organization and members are committed to ensuring the success and continued viability of ICANN demonstrates a commitment to the multistakeholder process in general. We will use this opportunity to continue to advocate the interests of our community, and to articulate the reasons that i2Coalition should be granted admission into the ISPCP. If you have any thoughts or goals for me to advance at this meeting of ICANN, send me an email at [email protected].