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Cover letter to ICANN interim board

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23 July 1999
Esther Dyson
Chair
ICANN Interim Board

Dear Ms Dyson,

We have pleasure in submitting to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) the attached proposal relating to the formation of an ICANN Address Supporting Organization (ASO).  This proposal is being submitted to ICANN by the existing Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), namely the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the Reseaux IP Europeens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC), and the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC).

The proposal is the outcome of consideration of the role of ICANN and the role of the ASO and the Address Council undertaken by the RIRs, their Boards or Executive Committees, and their membership at large, and also includes the incorporation of comment arising from a series of ICANN-sponsored public ASO discussion meetings through the past 12 months.

There are a number of aspects of this proposal that we would like to draw to ICANN's attention.

- The proposal does not include the incorporation of a separate entity for the ASO. The mechanism proposed to establish the ASO is by the means of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ICANN and the set of ICANN-approved RIRs. In this we are following the organisational structures adopted with the DNS Support Organization and the Protocol Support Organization.

- The proposal envisions the ability of ICANN to approve further RIRs in the future, and proposes that such bodies add their signature to the ASO-enabling MoU following ICANN's approval. An appendix to the proposal indicates a number of criteria that we consider to be integral to an adopted process of approving further RIRs.

- The proposal establishes an Address Council as the means by which the ASO will conduct its business, and proposes that each RIR signatory to the MoU be permitted to appoint 3 individuals to this council.

- The Address Council is responsible for the appointment of three Directors to the ICANN Board.

There are a number of salient features of this proposal that we would also like to draw to ICANN's attention.

1. Open and Transparent operation of the ASO

- The Address Council will host a General Assembly once per year, and will permit open participation to all interested individuals.

- All discussions of ASO business will be reported on a publicly archived mailing list.

- Meeting announcements, agendas, and minutes will be made publicly available in a timely fashion.

- Address Council members shall be selected following an open call for nominations of interested individuals to serve on the Address Council, using an open and transparent procedure.

- All communications between ICANN and the ASO will be made public on the ICANN/ASO web site.

2. Separation of the functions of policy determination and implementation

- No member of staff of an RIR is eligible to serve on the Address Council or to be appointed to the ICANN Board.

- We note that policies of the existing RIRs are not determined by the staff of the RIRs, but are set by the members of the RIRs. The individuals involved in this process of membership-determined policy are not chosen through some random or arbitrary process, but are the duly designated representatives of their respective companies. Furthermore, these RIR policies include the holding of at least one annual policy development meeting, open to all interested parties to both observe and comment. In delegating functions and responsibilities to RIRs within the ASO, control of any of the ASO functions is not being passed to a closed or unrepresentative process.

- We recommend such measures as being a vital component of ICANN consideration relating to the approval of any additional RIRs.

3. Industry participation

- We note that no additional means of Internet Service Provider (ISP) representation is provided within the proposed ASO structure. Given the open nature of participation in the process of policy determination, and the structure of the RIRs as a industry-based membership organisation, we are of the view that industry is well represented and, importantly, well balanced, within the RIR policy forums. Furthermore, we are of the view that any additional measures of inclusion of additional representation of any particular industry sector within the ASO has the potential to bias the operation of the ASO to assume positions supportive of only one sector of a broader constituency of consumers of Internet address space.

4. At Large Participation

- We note the explicit provision for At Large participation in the affairs of ICANN is through the selection of members of the Board by the At Large ICANN constituency. We also note the ability of interested individuals to observe and participate in the activities of the ASO and the Address Council through the General Assembly, the open nominations process, and through the open policy development meetings hosted by the RIRs. In consideration of these factors, no specific At Large membership of the Address Council is included in this proposal. However, we note that this does not preclude the processes adopted by the RIRs to appoint At Large nominations to the Address Council.

In conclusion, we recommend this ASO proposal to ICANN, and invite both ICANN and all other interested parties to consider and comment on this proposal through the adopted ICANN procedures.

Submitted on behalf of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the Reseaux IP Europeens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC), and the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) by their respective Boards and Executive Committees.