Saturday, December 03, 2005
Can ENUM escape ICANN? Redux
New York, NY November 21, 2005 ICB TOLL FREE NEWS After five years on the drawing board, U.S. ENUM is gearing up for trials - and a Root B operator has publicly accused ICANN of hijacking the .ARPA domain from the IAB.
In 2001, ICANNWatch reprinted a series of articles from ICB covering ICANN's interest in ENUM (Can ENUM Escape ICANN?), noting that "compared to the money and power on the ENUM tree, DNS is nothing." Despite this, the potential ENUM component of the ICANN VeriSign Settlement Agreements appears to be on no one's radar.*
(There are some people working very hard to get North American Numbering Plan Toll Free Numbers installed in ENUM, so this should be a topic of interest, if not concern, to the toll free industry.)
In 2001, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) was on record as being responsible for managing the Top Level Domain (TLD) name .ARPA, the official ENUM top level domain, and the ENUM Industry has convinced itself ever since, that the IAB will provide some level of protection and insulation against ICANN.
It appears that ICANN would like to be more "hands on."
According to the proposed settlement agreements between ICANN and VeriSign ("ICANN and VeriSign Announce End to Long-Standing Dispute", October 24, 2005), "ICANN and VeriSign agree that they shall:... (c) Work together to establish a timetable for the completion of the transition to ICANN of the coordination and management of the ARPA TLD...in particular to enable ICANN to edit, sign and publish the...ARPA zone commencing in 2005 and completing by 2006."
... prompting Bill Manning, a B Root operator, to post to the ICANN Comment Forum: "... A final point is the hijacking of the .ARPA domain from the IAB. It is not clear to me which party incalculated this component into the agreements (I have my ideas) but theft of the management of this domain without the approval of the IAB and the US DoC is ... theft."
The current timeline for U.S. ENUM is here. Is this timing coincidental with the timing and terms of these settlement agreements?
One can only speculate, but as Mr. Manning observes, in either case and at the very least, ICANN would appear to be negotiating prematurely.
*Former ICANN Director Karl Auerbach wrote last month that ENUM is "an answer to a problem that has disappeared," but he also goes on to say that "ICANN is gearing up to become the uber-manager of ENUM," echoing what ICB** has predicted since ENUM's inception.
**ICB is a Founding Member of U.S. ENUM Forum.