ICANN Resolutions » Renewal of .TEL Registry Agreement
Important note: The Board Resolutions are as reported in the Board Meeting Transcripts, Minutes & Resolutions portion of ICANN's website. Only the words contained in the Resolutions themselves represent the official acts of the Board. The explanatory text provided through this database (including the summary, implementation actions, identification of related resolutions, and additional information) is an interpretation or an explanation that has no official authority and does not represent the purpose behind the Board actions, nor does any explanations or interpretations modify or override the Resolutions themselves. Resolutions can only be modified through further act of the ICANN Board.
Whereas, ICANN commenced a public comment period from 04 August 2016 to 13 September 2016 on a proposed Renewal Registry Agreement for the .TEL TLD.
Whereas, the proposed .TEL Renewal Registry Agreement includes modified provisions to bring the .TEL Registry Agreement into line with the form of the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
Whereas, the public comment forum on the proposed Renewal Registry Agreement closed on 13 September 2016, with ICANN receiving twenty-seven (27) comments, both by individuals and organizations/groups. A summary and analysis of the comments were provided to the Board. ICANN modified the proposed Renewal Registry Agreement to correct typographical errors and to incorporate additional clarifying language in response to the public comments related to the RPM language proposed in Section 1 of Specification 7 regarding applicability and implementation of applicable rights protection mechanisms.
Whereas, ICANN conducted a review of Telnic’s recent performance under the current .TEL Registry Agreement and found that Telnic substantially met its contractual requirements.
Resolved (2016.11.08.07), the .TEL Renewal Registry Agreement, as revised, is approved and the President and CEO, or his designee(s), is authorized to take such actions as appropriate to finalize and execute the Agreement.
Why the Board is addressing the issue now?
ICANN and Telnic Limited (the “Registry Operator”) entered into a Registry Agreement on 30 May 2006 for operation of the .TEL top-level domain. The current .TEL Registry Agreement expires on 01 March 2017. The proposed Renewal Registry Agreement was posted for public comment between 04 August 2016 and 13 September 2016. At this time, the Board is approving the Renewal Registry Agreement for the continued operation of the .TEL TLD by the Registry Operator.
What is the proposal being considered?
The revised Renewal Registry Agreement approved by the Board includes modified provisions to bring the Agreement into line with the form of the New gTLD Registry Agreement. The modifications include: updating technical specifications; adding Public Interest Commitments including the obligation to only use registrars under the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement; and requiring the implementation of additional Rights Protection Mechanisms, namely the Uniform Rapid Suspension and the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure.
Specifically, all approved registry services in the current .TEL Registry Agreement carry over to the revised Renewal Registry Agreement. Such services include Bulk Transfer After Partial Portfolio Acquisition, Registry Controlled DNS Records Service, Domain data change notifications, Whois private contact information opt-out for Individuals, Special Access Service, Additional RDDS Data Fields and Internationalized Domain Names.
With regard to the Schedule of Reserved Names, the revised Renewal Registry Agreement includes existing provisions permitting the Registry Operator to allocate previously reserved one and two-character names through ICANN-accredited registrars via a Phased Allocation Program. However, all single-character numerical labels continue to be reserved at the second level.
As part of the adaptation needed to carry over the Sponsored TLD Charter of .TEL to the revised Renewal Registry Agreement, Specification 12 incorporates the language of the original Sponsorship Charter - Appendix S in the current .TEL TLD Agreement, with modifications to remove the requirement that the Registry control the name servers of delegated domain names, and the restriction that registrants cannot define the contents of the zone for their domain names. As .TEL was originally approved under this premise, the change will transform the .TEL TLD into a gTLD with a limited set of community parameters. These parameters will become optional rather than required.
Which stakeholders or others were consulted?
ICANN conducted a public comment period on the proposed .TEL Renewal Registry Agreement from 04 August 2016 through 13 September 2016, following which time the comments were summarized and analyzed. Additionally, ICANN engaged in bilateral negotiations with the Registry Operator to agree to the package of terms to be included in the proposed Renewal Registry Agreement that was posted for public comment.
What concerns or issues were raised by the community?
The proposed Renewal Registry Agreement was posted for public comment. Commenters expressed their views in three key areas during the public comment period:
Extension of .TEL Registry Agreement: Some of the commenters expressed support for the extension of .TEL Registry Agreement, while others suggested that improvements should be implemented for .TEL domain names if the .TEL Registry Agreement is to be extended.
Proposed Renewal Registry Agreement for .TEL: Three key issue areas were raised on the specific text of the renewal:
General Views – Some commenters positively noted there are technical and operational advantages to the New gTLD Registry Agreement form that serve as a benefit to registrants and the Internet community over earlier versions of the legacy Agreement. Additionally, there was support for ICANN’s efforts at bilateral negotiations with legacy TLD registries in order to transition to the New gTLD Registry Agreement and the procedural benefit of consistency that will come with ICANN’s bilaterally negotiating for transition to provisions of the New gTLD Registry Agreement not only with .TEL but with other legacy TLDs like .JOBS, .CAT, .PRO, and .TRAVEL.
Rights Protection Mechanisms – One commenter sought clarity over the language proposed in Section 1 of Specification 7 regarding applicability and implementation of rights protection mechanisms.
Registration Data Directory Service (Whois) – Some commenters raised concerns with continuing the unique Registration Data Directory Service that ICANN’s Board approved in 2007 for the .TEL TLD.
The continued operation of .TEL by Telnic Limited: Concerns were expressed over Telnic Limited continuing to be the Registry Operator of .TEL, claiming, among other things that Telnic has violated ICANN’s requirements several times and Telnic no longer has stable financials to continue the operation of .TEL.
What significant materials did the Board review?
As part of its deliberations, the Board reviewed various materials, including, but not limited to, the following materials and documents:
.TEL form of the New gTLD Registry Agreement:
.TEL Addendum to form of the New gTLD Registry Agreement: . At this time, ICANN is proposing to implement the incorporation of terms unique to a legacy TLD, such as .TEL, through an "Addendum" to the Registry Agreement. The Addendum will show the terms of the .TEL Registry Agreement that are unique from the New gTLD Registry Agreement that are incorporated into the renewal.
Summary and analysis of public comments:
27 September 2016 letter from Telnic CEO to ICANN Board: https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/correspondence/mahdavi-to-icann-bo.... Telnic's observations on past achievements and opportunities for .TEL.
Current .TEL Registry Agreement and Appendices:
New gTLD Registry Agreement – Updated 09 January 2014
18 December 2007 Board Resolution that approved changes to .TEL’s Registration Data Directory Service (Whois) requirements
What factors has the Board found to be significant?
The Board carefully considered the public comments received for the Renewal Registry Agreement, along with the summary and analysis of those comments. The Board also considered the terms agreed to by the Registry Operator as part of the bilateral negotiations with ICANN. The Board acknowledges the concerns expressed by some community members regarding suggested improvements that should be implemented for .TEL domain names if the .TEL Registry Agreement is to be extended. However, the terms of the .TEL Registry Agreement set forth the contractual obligations that must be fulfilled by Telnic Limited in its operation of the .TEL registry but do not prescribe or proscribe the Registry Operators’ business model. Additionally, the Staff Report of Public Comment Proceeding encouraged those commenters that desire to see changes in the business model of the .TEL registry to contact Telnic Limited to discuss these matters.
The Board acknowledges the request for clarity over the RPM language proposed in Section 1 of Specification 7 regarding applicability and implementation of applicable rights protection mechanisms. While the revisions to Specification 7 were consistent with prior legacies, a modification was made to the language of the Renewal Registry Agreement for .TEL to address the comment. The revision is now reflected in Section 1 of Specification 7 of the revised Renewal Registry Agreement to read “Registry Operator will include all RPMs required by this Specification and any additional RPMs developed and implemented by Registry Operator in the registry-registrar agreement entered into by ICANN-accredited registrars authorized to register names in the TLD.”
The Board acknowledges the concerns raised with continuing the unique Registration Data Directory Service that the Board approved in 2007 for the .TEL TLD. The Board notes the 18 December 2007 Board Resolution that approved changes to .TEL’s Registration Data Directory Service (Whois) requirements was based on unique business and legal circumstances stating, “…the Board concludes that the requested modifications are justified by the unique business and legal circumstances of the .TEL top-level domain…” After conferring with Telnic Limited, ICANN has confirmed that, to the knowledge of the Registry Operator, the legal circumstances related to Registration Data Directory Service (Whois) have not changed. Therefore, the Registration Data Directory Service (Whois) requirements which were ultimately replicated from the prior agreement between ICANN and Telnic Limited will be retained in the Renewal Registry Agreement.
Additionally, the Board has considered comments regarding the continued operation of .TEL by Telnic Limited, including concerns that Telnic has violated ICANN’s requirements several times and Telnic no longer has stable financials to continue the operation of .TEL. As part of the renewal process ICANN conducts a review of contractual compliance under the .TEL Registry Agreement. Telnic Limited was found to be in substantial compliance with their contractual requirements. Also, during the past 10 years of operation, ICANN has no knowledge of Telnic Limited experiencing financial or other operational impediments that have caused a failure of registry operations or security and stability concerns. If Telnic Limited were to experience financial problems that resulted in the Registry Operator failing to comply with its obligations under the Registry Agreement, ICANN can take action to protect registrants and ensure continuity of registry operations.
Finally, the Board notes that existing Registry Agreement calls for presumptive renewal of the Agreement at its expiration so long as certain requirements are met. These provisions are intended to promote stability and security of the registry by encouraging long-term investment in TLD operations, which benefits the community in the form of reliable operation of registry infrastructure. The Renewal Registry Agreement is subject to the negotiation of renewal terms reasonably acceptable to ICANN and the Registry Operator. The renewal terms approved by the Board are the result of the bilateral negotiations called for in the current Registry Agreement.
Are there positive or negative community impacts?
The Board’s approval of the Renewal Registry Agreement also offers positive technical and operational benefits. Pursuant to the Renewal Registry Agreement, in the event that any of the emergency thresholds for registry functions is reached, Registry Operator agrees that ICANN may designate an emergency interim Registry Operator of the registry for the TLD, which would mitigate the risks to the stability and security of the Domain Name System. Also, technical onboarding of the Registry Operator to comply with the provisions in the New gTLD Agreement will allow the registry to use uniform and automated processes, which will facilitate operation of the TLD.
There will also be positive impacts on registrars and registrants. The transition to the New gTLD Registry Agreement will provide consistency across all registries leading to a more predictable environment for end-users and also the fact that the proposed Renewal Registry Agreement requires that the Registry Operator uses ICANN accredited registrars that are party to the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) only will provide more benefits to registrars and registrants.
Are there fiscal impacts or ramifications on ICANN (strategic plan, operating plan, budget); the community; and/or the public?
There is no significant fiscal impact expected if ICANN approves the proposed .TEL Renewal Registry Agreement. It should be noted however that as a result of approval of the Renewal Registry Agreement, projected annual registry fees to ICANN will result in a minimal negative fiscal impact. This change has been considered in ICANN’s budget.
Are there any security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS?
There are no expected security, stability, or resiliency issues related to the DNS if ICANN approves the proposed .TEL Renewal Registry Agreement. The proposed Renewal Registry Agreement in fact includes terms intended to allow for swifter action in the event of certain threats to the security or stability of the DNS. As part of ICANN’s organizational administrative function, ICANN posted the draft Renewal Registry Agreement for public comment on 04 August 2016.