The NTIA plans to let its contract with ICANN to operate key domain-name functions expire in September 2015, while requiring the organization to develop a new global Internet governance model, NTIA administrator Lawrence Strickling said during a press conference.
ICANN has faced growing criticism in recent years about the influence of the U.S. government on its operations, but Strickling and ICANN CEO and President Fadi Chehadé said the decision to end the formal relationship was driven instead by a longtime understanding that the partnership would be temporary. ICANN's contract with the NTIA to operate the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions dates back to 1999.
The NTIA also believed the time was right for the change because of ICANN's maturity and the transparent decision-making process that has developed there, an NTIA official said.
As a condition of the change, the transition away from the NTIA contract "must have broad community support" from Internet users, governments and companies, Strickling said. The new governance model must "maintain the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet Domain Name System," he added.
The new governance model must also maintain the openness of the Internet, Strickling said. The NTIA will not support a governance model that puts control in the hands of governments only, he added. "I want to make clear that we will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or intergovernmental solution," he said.