ICANN published a draft Work Plan to describe the set of community reviews and activities underway and planned to support consideration of an additional application process for the next round of generic top-level domain (gTLD) names under the New gTLD Program.
The New gTLD Program is enabling the largest-ever expansion of the domain name system. It is designed to enable increased opportunity, diversity, and innovation at the top level of the Domain Name System (DNS).
Based on current estimates, ICANN says that a subsequent application round is not expected to launch until 2016 at the earliest.
As of this writing, 404 new gTLDs have been delegated. A total of 1,168 applicants
have been invited to contracting. Of those applications in string contention sets, 49%
remain subject to contention resolution procedures, forecast to be completed by the
third quarter of 2016. ICANN anticipates contracting to be completed by the end of
2016, and pre-delegation testing by early 2017, before completing all the new
delegations by mid-2017.
So a 2017 estimate is more probable at this time.
“We are very pleased with the initial results of the current round of gTLDs, the first of which was delegated into the Internet in October 2013,” said Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s Global Domain’s Division. “In the past several months there has been an increasing level of interest in the timing of the next application process. While we have been focusing our resources on ensuring the current round of gTLDs are ushered safely into the Internet, we are now at a point where we can kick-off discussions regarding a subsequent round.”
The gTLD Applicant Guidebook provided that ICANN’s goal is to launch subsequent gTLD application rounds as quickly as possible, noting that the exact timing would be based on experiences gained and changes required after the completion of the first round.
As of 22 September, 515 applicants have signed registry agreements with ICANN; 395 new gTLDs have been delegated under the program; 312 TLDs have submitted TLD Startup Information to ICANN for publication. Initial Evaluation has been completed for all applications, with a small number undergoing re-evaluation due to application change requests initiated by the applicants. The remaining objection processes and contention resolution processes are proceeding according to schedule. Program statistics are updated weekly and may be viewed here. With these operations proceeding in a stable manner, ICANN is now allocating resources to preparations for subsequent rounds.
Guided by ICANN’s stated goal of opening a new application round in a timely manner, the activities described in the Work Plan are intended to ensure that the next application round can take place with the added benefits of experience gained in the first round. The Work Plan is intended to enable ICANN to support and facilitate the reviews and discussions to occur through the multi-stakeholder process on the future of the Program.
Download the Draft Work Plan [PDF, 397 KB]
A session is planned at the upcoming ICANN 51 public meeting in Los Angeles to present and discuss the plan.