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Christine Final ICANN

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Christine, we just released the first group of these Initial Evaluation results. What exactly do these tell us?

What they’re telling us is they’re showing that applicants have completed the Initial Evaluation phase of the New gTLD Program and we have applicants who are ready to move forward to contracting.

Now, the initial plan was you were going to reveal or you were going to post the first 30. The total number of those posted is not 30. Why?

We've actually had to hold back just a handful of application results, really for a variety of purposes. Some phase of the evaluation has not been completed. So it’s, primarily, administrative, and as soon as that evaluation work is complete and completed by the panel and reviewed by ICANN, we’ll be publishing those results in subsequent weeks.

Let’s pick up on that point. What does Initial Evaluation mean? What exactly was evaluated?

So, there were multiple dimensions of the application evaluated through initial evaluation. The strings were evaluated for string similarity by the String Similarity Panel. They were also evaluated for DNS Stability. We had a Registry Services Review. They were reviewed for... the geographic names applications were reviewed for the support by the relevant governments. They also went through a Financial Evaluation to ensure that they were financially able to operate a new TLD, as well as a Technical and Operations Evaluation to ensure that they were technically and operationally prepared for the operational aspects of the TLD.

For the sake of the uninitiated, can an application pass some of those criteria and not all, and still be approved?

Well, if they are passing some of those dimensions, some of those panels of evaluation, they could go on and might be eligible for Extended Evaluation. But unless they pass all dimensions of Initial Evaluation, we will not consider them passing and moving on to a contracting phase.

And, Extended Evaluation is what exactly?

Extended Evaluation is an additional look at the application in three dimensions. Extended Evaluation is available only for Financial review, for the Technical and Operations panel, as well as for the Registry Services panel. So those are the three aspects of additional, or Extended Evaluation, offered to applicants.

So, this is a major milestone for applicants. But how big a deal is it in your mind?

I think it’s huge, I really think it’s huge. These applications have been in review the better part of nine months now by ICANN and the expert panels that are doing this evaluation. So, this is a tremendous milestone for us.

If I’m an applicant and my name is on the list we just posted, what does that mean for me in terms of my progression toward delegation?

So, if your application is not a contention, meaning it’s not found to be similar to another application, and it doesn't have any objections, and it is not the recipient of GAC advice in upcoming weeks, then it means that your application could progress to contracting and you’re on the path to delegation.

So, if I’m an applicant and my name is on that list we posted today, I’m pretty excited of this news.

Exactly.

Describe the contracting and predelegation testing.

So, the contracting phase is, the applicant has the opportunity to accept the registry agreement under the New gTLD Program and once they've accepted that agreement then they can progress and move on to predelegation testing, which is a technical testing to ensure that they’re operationally ready and the technical infrastructure is there for the operations of the TLD.

That determination has not been made to this point?

The technical background, the evaluation of their application has been completed. But making sure that the servers are ready and the infrastructure is in place and ready to go, that is what the predelegation testing will ensure.

If I’m an applicant and I’m on the list we just posted, and there are no objections to my application, and I’m not string contention, then how quickly can I get delegated?

So, in sort of a best case scenario, assuming acceptance of the standard registry agreement, moving through predelegation in April, I think an applicant could go pursue delegation through IANA in May, with delegation into the root in mid-year.

So we’re getting very close.

We are getting very close.

If I’m an applicant in string contention with high priority number, then can I progress to the next step or do I have to wait for the string I made contention with?

You will need to wait for the string you're in contention with and then you’ll need to resolve that contention, one of multiple ways. You can resolve it amongst yourselves. You can, if you are, community application, you can seek community priority evaluation, which sort of would put you to the head of the queue, or you can choose to request an auction, for ICANN to facilitate an auction to resolve that contention.

Christine, everybody on this list isn't internationalized domain name. Why?

We prioritized. Back in December we had a prioritization draw and we prioritized 108 of the IDN applications to the front of the queue. They sought prioritization. So these first 30, being priority numbers 1 through 30, they are within that first 108 IDN batch.

So what’s behind ICANN's desire to prioritize the IDN's?

ICANN chose to prioritize the IDN applications in the public interest and to serve the internationalization of the Internet and make the Internet more accessible to the individuals in parts of the world who are not familiar with the Latin script, who are much more familiar with their native scripts.

Another bit of evidence that the Internet truly is international, has gone beyond the Latin scripts.

Absolutely.

When will you get the advice from the Governmental Advisory Committee?

We’re anticipating advice from the GAC after Beijing, but we’ll have to wait and see.

And, I asked you this question before but I want to ask you again. So, your best estimate as to when we might finally see the first New gTLDs in the root is when?

I would say somewhere between mid-year. Somewhere between May, June, in that time frame.

What’s it been like for you and your staff reaching this point?

There’s been some heavy lifting going on. Trying to evaluate and complete the evaluation of so many applications and ensuring the consistency of that evaluation has been a challenge.

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Duration: 7 minutes and 34 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: icann on Apr 24, 2013

Christine Final ICANN

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