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Testimony of

Ken Hansen

NeuStar, Inc.

Washington, D.C.

before the

House Subcommittee on Telecommunications

of the

House Committee on Energy and Commerce

February 8, 2001

 

 

Good morning:

 

My name is Ken Hansen, and I am the Director of Corporate Development for NeuStar, Inc., a neutral third party provider of clearinghouse and database administration services. NeuStar serves as the Number Plan administrator and the Local Number Portability administrator for North America. Our joint venture with Melbourne IT , Ltd (MIT), a Melbourne, Australia based provider of domain name services was recently selected by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to operate the Registry for the Top-Level Domain Name “.biz”. During the application process the joint venture was referred to as “JVTeam” and is now known as “NeuLevel”.

 

I appreciate the opportunity to appear before the subcommittee to discuss the ICANN selection process. NeuStar has been following the potential introduction of new TLDs and attending ICANN meetings for over two years prior to issuance of the RFP.

 

NeuLevel was selected to operate the Dot-Biz Registry. As such, NeuLevel was one of seven selected to operate Registries for the new Top-Level Domains (TLDs). The criteria and objectives utilized in the selection process represented the culmination of many years of well-publicized industry debate and consensus building concerning the introduction of new Top Level Domain Names (TLDs), and not solely the result of the most recent ICANN application process.

 

The process utilized by ICANN was conducted in an open and transparent manner. Having been directly involved in over one hundred Request for Proposal processes during my fifteen years in the communications industry, I can say with confidence that the manner in which ICANN conducted the application process far exceeds measures taken by private companies in conducting procurement activities for services of similar complexity. I would like to direct your attention to the attached exhibit which contrasts these differences.

 

The open process described in the Exhibit represents a process in which all competitors had equal access to information, and an equal opportunity to prepare their responses and compete with other Applicants. We believe that the TLDs selected are a direct reflection of the evaluation criteria identified by ICANN and communicated to all Applicants and the public in advance on the ICANN website. The criteria is as follows:

  • The number one priority was the need to maintain the stability of the Internet
  • Demonstrate an effective proof of concept concerning the introduction of new top level domains
  • The enhancement of competition for registry services
  • The enhancement of the utility of the DNS
  • Meet currently unmet needs
  • Enhance diversity of the Internet
  • Evaluate the delegation of policy formulation functions for special purpose TLDs
  • To ensure the appropriate protections of the rights of others, and
  • Completeness of proposals

 

ICANN stated clearly that its intent was to select a limited number of new TLDs and to proceed carefully in order to ensure that the stability of the Internet was maintained. In the New TLD Application Process Overview (which was posted to the ICANN website) ICANN stated that, “ It is anticipated that only a few of the applications that are received will be selected for further negotiations toward suitable contracts with ICANN”. This statement was consistent with the Resolution of the ICANN Board on New TLDs, in which the Board "adopted the Names Council's recommendation that a policy be established for the introduction of new TLDs in a measured and responsible manner".

 

The selected TLDs are also consistent with ICANN’s desire of creating diversity. Specifically, ICANN stated that, “the diversity the proposal would bring to the program” would be considered in selecting the new TLDs. In addition, the Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals included the following criteria;

        The feasibility and utility of different types of new TLDs

        The effectiveness of different procedures for launching new TLDs,

        Different policies under which the TLDs can be administered in the longer term,

        Different operational models for the registry and registrar functions,

        Different business and economic models under which TLDs can be operated;

        The market demand for different types of TLDs and DNS services; and

        Different institutional structures for the formulation of registration and operation policies within the TLD.

Although some qualified TLDs were not selected, ICANN made it clear that additional TLDs were likely to be introduced in the future.

 

The ICANN process described above will create effective competition where none exists today. Competition will create new choices for individuals, organizations and businesses in terms of name availability, pricing and functionality.

 

The ICANN evaluation criteria and objectives in introducing new TLDs were the result of an open public debate and widespread Internet community consensus. The ICANN process resulted in TLD and Registry Operator selections that are consistent with those criteria and objectives. It is in the interest of the Internet community as a whole for the introduction of selected new TLDs to proceed, while other Applicants pursue appeals though the ICANN Request for Reconsideration process.

 

I thank the subcommittee for giving me the opportunity to testify. I will now answer any questions that you may have.


EXHIBIT

 

TYPICAL PRIVATE COMPANY RFP PROCESS vs. ICANN PROCESS

 

 

DESCRIPTION

TYPICAL PRIVATE COMPANY RFP PROCESS

( for complex service or system )

ICANN PROCESS

Announcement of RFP

  • Potential bidders selected and notified directly
  • No public notice
  • Notice posted to the Internet for public viewing
  • Expressions of interest requested, but not required

Who can submit a bid?

  • Limited number of selected companies
  • Those bidders the company feels are qualified and can meet needs
  • Number of bidders limited
  • Typically 3-5 proposals accepted
  • Any company permitted to submit an application
  • Forty-seven complete applications received

Publication of the RFP

  • Sent directly to limited number of qualified bidders.
  • Posted to the Internet for public viewing

Public posting of proposals

  • None
  • Posted to the Internet for public viewing

Confidential information

  • Proposal considered confidential document
  • Not to be disclosed
  • Posted to the Internet for public viewing
  • Confidential information not to be considered by evaluators

Public comment

  • None
  • Comment forum on the ICANN site
  • Public able to submit a comments
  • Applicants able to comment on competitors proposals
  • All comments published on the web for viewing.

Questions concerning responses

  • Private correspondence with bidders
  • Private meetings with bidders
  • ICANN questions and Applicant answers posted to the ICANN site

Evaluation results

  • Not shared with the bidders or any outside party
  • No opportunity to respond or comment
  • Written evaluation posted to the web for viewing by bidders and the public

 

Decision making process

  • Private decision making process
  • No involvement or access by bidders
  • Board deliberation with access to the public
  • Live broadcast on the Internet. Transcripts published on ICANN site

Decision announcement

  • Bidders privately notified by phone
  • Announced during public meeting
  • Broadcast on the Internet
  • Published on the ICANN site