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4/12/99 ASO meeting minutes

  • From: Kim Hubbard < >
  • Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 12:18:37 -0400

Below are the minutes from the ASO meeting held in Atlanta, GA last week.

Address Supporting Organization Meeting
Atlanta, GA
April 12, 1999


The meeting was called to order by Kim Hubbard at approximately 7:00 p.m. 
Since the meeting was collocated with ARIN's biannual members meeting, the 
ASO session was well attended by ARIN members, as well as various others, 
including individuals representing themselves and those representing 
organizations, groups, or other constituencies.  The international community 
was also well represented at the meeting.  Approximately 50 attendees were 
present.  Following the call to order, Kim began the presentation by 
discussing the role of the ASO.

Role of the ASO

First, the ASO's role according to the ICANN bylaws was outlined. Then it 
was suggested that other roles could be to:  comment on non-ASO IP policy 
submissions, comment on proposals from other Supporting Organizations, 
manage domain, and become involved with the root name server 
committee. The current system managed by ARIN is only temporary 
and could possibly be moved to IANA.

Optional Structures

Kim's presentation continued to address the following potential 
organizational structures.

Option 1

As proposed in Option 1, only RIRs comprise the ASO membership, which makes 
it regionally diverse. The Address Council (AC) will be made up of 
representatives of the RIR members and will be responsible for formalizing 
policies and making recommendations to the ICANN. The advantage of this 
option is that it simplifies the process, i.e., members don't have to join 
another organization to participate in the ASO. This would mean, then, that 
ARIN will need to open its policy meetings to the public, which it will do.

Option 2

Option 2 proposes that membership be comprised by two categories:  Charter 
members (RIRs), and at-large members (all other interested parties). The AC 
would be selected by all ASO members and would only forward recommendations 
to the ICANN. Option 2 is similar to the proposal submitted by CIX as 
described below. 

Other Options

Barbara Dooley from CIX presented a proposal already developed and submitted 
to ICANN by Commercial Internet eXchange Association (CIX), EuroISPA, and 
Federacion de LatinoAmerica y el Caribe Para Internet y el Comercio 
Electronico (eCOM-LAC). It is posted on the ICANN website at and will be discussed at the ICANN 
meeting in Santiago.

Barbara described the motivation for the proposal, such as how diversity and 
representation can best be provided for. It proposed a membership structure 
that includes ISPs, other stakeholders, and the RIRs. This structure was 
designed to reduce a conflict of interest that would exist if the people who 
create the policies also implement them.

Barbara said that without this structure, one would have to become a member 
of an RIR in order to be part of the policy decision process. In response to 
this comment:  RIPE provides for open involvement notwithstanding 
membership, and changes in this area are being discussed for ARIN. Plus, 
anyone can become a member of an RIR. If ARIN opened its processes, would 
that solve this issue? Giving minorities a voice in the process might help.

A difference was pointed out between the DNSO and the ASO in that the RIRs 
have a working system with a membership structure and the DNSO didn't have 
that kind of structure on which to base its formation.

One attendee suggested that ICANN discussion of the proposal has been 
postponed to the meeting in Santiago because the ICANN is busy finalizing 
the formation of the DNSO. Barb Dooley said the RIR-only membership scenario 
would not work because in the past the IANA alone set policy, not the RIRs, 
and that having the RIRs set policy could not work. It was explained, 
however, that indeed it was the RIRs, with community involvement, that set 
the policy for many years.

After Barb Dooley and Michael Schneider claimed to be representing their 
membership, Ms. Dooley was asked whether the CIX membership had been 
involved in the creation of the document or had seen it prior to its 
submittal. Ms. Dooley said no but that the policy committee had provided 

Discussion on the Options

References were made to the development process and the resulting end 
product of the Domain Name Support Organization. Formation of the DNSO tried 
to address all points of view, which resulted in the accommodation of too 
many constituencies. We should avoid making the same mistakes.

The question was raised as to whether there are areas or groups not 
represented in the RIRs or are not appropriate for representation at the RIR 
level. The answer was apparently no. It was suggested that any answers to 
representation must include technical, social, and political considerations. 

It was felt that the RIRs, through their members, represent all those 
interested in participating in IP addressing issues at the regional level, 
that it has good representation at the national and regional levels.   It 
was also suggested that multiple levels of representation do not necessarily 
make informed decisions.

The ASO provides a format that must and will satisfy IP interests on a 
global scale. RIRs represent the regional process more than the global 
process. A balance must be struck between having too many representatives in 
the ASO and having too few. If all constituencies are represented, the 
organization would become too unwieldy, the process hampered if not halted, 
and very little would be accomplished. Also, if only two or three serve as 
representatives at the ASO level, there would be too few involved. It was 
suggested to remove the requirement to become a member in order to make 
decisions about policies.

Open participation, it was suggested, is a desired approach and has been 
successful at the IETF. A proposal was made by an attendee, but not acted 
upon, that RIRs should adopt wide open deliberative processes. General 
comments suggested that open processes are desired among the group. Open 
processes might include, for example, website information made available to 
the public, and a broader distribution of comments and announcements via 
email (mailing lists).

Mr. Schneider stated that only technicians attend the RIR meetings, and that 
an open ASO was needed so that real policymakers such as himself could 
attend. The general response, however, was to the contrary.

There was some concern that international organizations could not be 
represented on a regional level but would have to attend meetings held in 
each region.

A question was called to a vote and seconded:  Is there concensus on whether 
to accept Option 1? In response to this question, a straw poll was taken 
whether to support Option 1 form of membership or Option 2 category 
membership. The vote yielded an overwhelming majority in favor of Option 1 
-- representation in ASO through RIR membership. Twenty two were for it, 
four were opposed.

Concern was expressed, however, that ISPs worldwide would not support Option 
1 and that many ISPs will voice their disapproval if Option 1 is submitted 
to the ICANN. In an attempt to demonstrate knowledge of ISPs worldwide at 
the meeting, a show of hands revealed that most attendees represent foreign 
interests. It was commented then, that ISPs should be represented more 
directly in the ASO especially in light of the fact that some ISPs and ISP 
associations are not updated on current issues relating to ICANN and the 
ASO. The suggestion was made that the attendees should canvass ISPs to get 
their feedback and input on the ASO membership issue.

Issue Considerations

Kim briefly offered topics for thought and for all to consider as we 
continue to move forward in gaining consensus on how the ASO should be 
structured and as we develop the proposal. These topics included:

What is the appropriate size and complexity of the ASO, and should it be a 
legal entity? Should there be a board of directors, and how should it be 

Should the relationship to ICANN be a contractual one, or should the 
organization be a part of ICANN?

How should the Address Council be elected, what authority should it have, 
and what would its responsibilities be?

Should the membership be regionally based to ensure international and 
diverse participation or would RIR membership satisfy this need?

What level of participation and authority should the RIRs have with the ASO? 
Should there be a contractual relationship?

How should the ICANN Board of Directors be elected? 

What should the relationship be to other Supporting Organizations?

Should there be a guaranteed regional diversity?

How should the ICANN and the ASO be funded? Kim suggested that a portion of 
RIR members' fees will fund the ASO.  Additional funding could come from 
charging admission for attendance to ASO meetings. A question for further 
consideration arose as to whether RIR members can have a say in how the RIRs 
fund the ICANN.  An interest was expressed in knowing the total budget for 
ICANN, but this was unknown at the time of the meeting.

One attendee suggested that the Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO) is 
moving towards a light-weight structure, and that we might want to closely 
watch their process.

So where do we go from here? Kim mentioned that a group of RIR 
representatives has already drafted a proposal similar to Option 1. The 
proposal will be updated and posted on the RIRs' websites and will be sent 
to all mailing lists ASAP.

It was suggested that a section for Internet governance be added to ARIN's 
website, and that a vehicle for posting ASO discussions be created, whether 
on the website or via mailing lists.


Kim concluded the discussion and the meeting was adjourned.

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