Concern over Icann's request for more cash

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) wants more money and more power, but one of its largest partners,...

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) wants more money and more power, but one of its largest partners, the Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries (CENTR), said that the proposed budget is a big concern.

In May, Icann proposed a budget of $15.8m (£8.5m) for next year - nearly double its annual expenditure.

CENTR - representing the interests of internet registries in nearly 40 countries -  is a powerful voice in the internet community, and one that Icann cannot ignore.

In his letter, the CENTR chairman Paul Kane referred to Icann's contribution request as "unrealistic and inappropriate". While CENTR members, he wrote, are prepared to pay "their fair share" of the technical support that Icann provided through its contract relationship with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), they see no need for additional funding.

CENTR, based in Oxford, has already raised money through its Internet Infrastructure Fund to provide Icann and IANA with computer equipment, registry management software and, if necessary, staff training, said Kane. "Unfortunately, Icann and its technical contract partner IANA have not responded to our offer of support," he wrote.

IANA is contracted to provide Icann with several services, including internet protocol (IP) address allocation, protocol identifier assignment, the domain name system and root server management, according to Kane.

CENTR members, whose primary task is managing country code top level domains (ccTLDs), are uphappy the proposed 20-fold increase in IANA funding, or with Icann's growing control of the unit, he said.

In 1996, the annual cost of the IANA infrastructure service, which was provided by two part-time staff, was $250,000, said Kane.

Now Icann is seeking nearly $5m to fund the unit, with the equivalent of 2.5 full-time members of staff.

In addition to Icann's funding, CENTR members are concerned over its tightening grip on its contract partner. Icann, according to Kane, is trying to merge IANA's functions with its own to gain more influence in the internet community.

Equally disturbing to CENTR is Icann's attempt to establish itself as the governing body of the internet.

The organisation should focus instead on its core mission, he said, serving as a forum for technical co-ordination and information exchange for the global internet community, as well as ensuring that IANA's administrative tasks are done well.

Decisions over technical issues should be made by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and those over operational issues by the impacted communities, Kane said.

John Blau writes for IDG News Service

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