I was pleased to have the opportunity last week to meet with a group of ccTLDs in London, as part of a series of CEO Roundtables centered on strategic issues faced by the Domain Name System (DNS) sector.
This roundtable served as a forum for the ccTLDs, from a diverse set of countries, to provide insights about the unique and influential role they play in the DNS ecosystem. I was thankful for the rich dialogue that resulted and which explored the quality of the operational and security functions ccTLDs perform to serve their users and citizens, all within the framework of policies and requirements of their own countries. In addition, the roundtable allowed for valuable feedback and for us to explore ways to enhance our relationship.
Another objective was to consider DNS developments, such as the introduction of new gTLDs, and the rapid pace of innovation within the sector and how this will influence ccTLDs. We also addressed potential challenges to the multistakeholder model of Internet governance in the context of the needs of the next billion Internet users who are scheduled to come online.
I briefed them on a number of ICANN’s operational priorities, as well as the work being undertaken by the registry and the registrar CEOs who participated in last month’s roundtables. Other topics included: 1) the reputational risks and opportunities for ccTLDs and the domain name industry from a media perspective; 2) statistical trends and the interplay between gTLD market changes and ccTLDs over the years; and 3) options for using infographic tools to depict and explain the role of the ccTLDs in the DNS sector.
Something of tremendous importance, which I stressed in my conversations with the ccTLD CEOs, and that I would like to ensure is communicated more broadly: ICANN’s focus should not be on the amount of ccTLD financial contributions, rather emphasis needs to be placed on areas where we can collaborate, as true partners. Working together must take priority over financial considerations that have been stumbling blocks in the past. We share a common goal of bringing value to the Internet and its users – individuals, businesses, citizens and organizations – that is possible through cooperation, alignment of our technical and operational performance, and support of the multistakeholder model.
While the drivers of ccTLD performance cannot be entirely decoupled from the performance of gTLDs, and the DNS sector as a whole, they do have many areas of differentiation. Among the issues we explored is ccTLDs’ focus on the public interest through their role as national entities and in relation to larger, more global economic and social trends.
I am grateful to the CEOs for their participation and look forward to continuing our efforts at a DNS Summit, which will take place next month and will serve as the culminating event for this roundtable series.
Roundtable participants (as pictured) include:
Back Row (from left to right):
David Olive, Vice President, Policy Development Support, ICANN
Frederico Neves, CTO, NIC.br
Roelof Meijer, CEO, SIDN
Xiaodong Lee, CEO, CNNIC
Mathieu Weill, CEO, AFNIC
Chris Disspain, CEO, auDA
Bart Boswinkel, Senior Director, ccNSO Policy Development Support, ICANN
Byron Holland, CEO, CIRA
Richard Wein, CEO, nic.at
Front Row (from left to right):
Sally Costerton, Senior Advisor to the President, Global Stakeholder Engagement, ICANN
Rosalía Morales A., Executive Director, NIC Costa Rica
Sabine Dolderer, CEO, DENIC eG
Lesley Cowley, CEO, Nominet
Lim Choon Sai, General Manager, SGNIC
Marc Van Wesemael, CEO, EURid
Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO, ICANN
This event was part of an ongoing series of small roundtable gatherings with CEOs that will continue in the future. For this particular roundtable, participants represented members and nonmembers of the ccNSO, and were from both smaller and larger-sized ccTLDs. Unfortunately, not all of the invitees could attend. Yet, we were fortunate to be joined by leaders from Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, and the Caribbean.