ICANN Resolutions » Root Zone Maintainer Agreement

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Root Zone Maintainer Agreement


Resolution of the ICANN Board
Topic: 
The ICANN Board approves the finalization and execution of RZMA
Summary: 

Proposed RZMA 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.

Category: 
Board
General
Root Zone
Meeting Date: 
Tue, 9 Aug 2016
Resolution Number: 
2016.08.09.05
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) officially requested that Verisign and ICANN work together to develop a proposal on how best to transition NTIA's administrative role associated with root zone management in a manner that maintains the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet's domain name system in a 4 March 2015 letter to ICANN.

Whereas, in August 2015, ICANN and Verisign submitted a proposal to NTIA in response to its request [PDF, 247 KB]. The proposal outlines two parts, a parallel testing period of the of Root Zone Management Systems (RZMS) and a Root Zone Maintainer Agreement (RZMA) with Verisign for Verisign to continue performing the root zone maintainer function it performs today under the Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Commerce.

Whereas, NTIA specified in a 9 June 2016 letter to ICANN that a finalized RZMA and successful completion of the parallel testing period are pre-conditions to the IANA Stewardship transition.

Whereas, the completion of the RZMA is a requirement from the package of proposals that the Board approved on 10 March 2016 to transition NTIA's stewardship of the IANA function to the global multistakeholder community and, because the RZMA exceeds US$500,000 in total, requires that the Board approves to delegate signature authority to the CEO.

Whereas, the parallel testing period of the RZMS successfully concluded on 6 July 2016 .

Whereas, ICANN and Verisign finalized negotiations on the terms of the proposed RZMA for Verisign to perform the root zone maintainer function, and published the proposed RZMA for a 30-day notice period as required by the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) proposal .

Whereas, the proposed RZMA contains provisions that incorporate relevant requirements from the Cross Community Working Group on Naming Related Functions (CWG-Stewardship).

Whereas, the Board Finance Committee reviewed the financial aspects and implications of the RZMA and found (i) that the proposed costs of the contract were reasonable, (ii) that the procurement process had been respected, (iii) that the costs were affordable, and recommended approval by the Board as a result.

Resolved (2016.08.09.05), the proposed RZMA 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.

Rationale for Resolution: 

Why the Board is addressing the issue now?

In a 4 March 2015 letter, the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) "officially requested that Verisign and ICANN work together to develop a proposal on how best to transition NTIA's administrative role associated with root zone management in a manner that maintains the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet's domain name system." In August 2015, ICANN and Verisign submitted a proposal to NTIA in response to its request [PDF, 247 KB]. The proposal outlines two parts, a parallel testing period of the of Root Zone Management System (RZMS) and a Root Zone Maintainer Agreement with Verisign for Verisign to continue performing the root zone maintainer function it performs today under the Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Commerce.

Completion of the RZMA is also specified as one of the requirements from the package of proposals that the Board approved on 10 March 2016 to transition NTIA's stewardship of the IANA function to the global multistakeholder community and, because it exceeds US$500,000 in total, requires that the Board approves to delegate signature authority to the CEO.

Since last August, ICANN and Verisign have had ongoing discussions and negotiations regarding the terms of the RZMA. Negotiations concluded in June and the proposed RZMA was published for a 30-day public notice period on 30 June 2016. The 30-day public notice period ended on 30 July 2016 and the Board has considered the proposed RZMA for approval.

What is the proposal being considered?

The proposed RZMA allows Verisign to continue providing services for root zone maintenance, root zone signing with the ZSK, and distribution of the root zone file and related files to the root zone operators at a nominal fee. The RZMA provides for an 8-year term with robust service level agreements that can be modified via a change control process should the customers of IANA require changes to these service level agreements. The change control process also allows for changes to the Root Zone Management System as root zone management evolves to meet the needs of the community. While the 8-year term of the RZMA is intended to promote the security, stability and resiliency of root zone maintenance operations by having Verisign continue in its role, the agreement also provides a capability for the community, through a consensus-based community-driven process, to cause ICANN to transition the function to another service provider after three years. The full RZMA was posted for a 30-day public notice period on 30 June 2016 as required by the ICG proposal and can be viewed at .

Which stakeholders or others were consulted?

ICANN held discussions and negotiations with Verisign, Inc. to finalize the proposed RZMA, which was then posted for a 30-day public notice period from 30 June through 30 July 2016.

What concerns or issues were raised by the community?

No significant issues or concerns were brought to ICANN's attention during the 30-day public notice period.

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:

Verisign Cooperative Agreement with the United States Government
4 March 2015 letter from NTIA
Verisign/ICANN Proposal in Response to NTIA Request – Root Zone Administrator Proposal Related to the IANA Functions Stewardship Transition [PDF, 247 KB]
Root Zone Maintainer Agreement
IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) proposal [PDF, 2.32 MB]
What factors has the Board found to be significant?

The Board carefully considered the RZMA to ensure it contains provisions that would allow ICANN to meet the requirements of the community for the transition, such as:

The ability to modify service level agreements due to recommendations from the Customer Standing Committee
The ability to make modifications to the Root Zone Management System due to recommendations from the Root Zone Evolution Review Committee
The ability for the community, through a consensus-based community-driven process, to cause ICANN to transition the maintainer function to another service provider
The Board also carefully considered the terms of the RZMA to ensure that the maintainer function can continued to be operated in a secure, stable, and reliable manner post transition.
Are there positive or negative community impacts?

A key goal of the proposed RZMA and continued engagement with Verisign, Inc. for the performance of the maintainer function is to provide secure and stable operations of the root zone through the IANA Stewardship transition and beyond. The Board's approval of the proposed RZMA would ensure that expectations of IANA customers will continue to be met.

Are there fiscal impacts or ramifications on ICANN (strategic plan, operating plan, budget); the community; and/or the public?

Verisign, Inc. has historically solely performed the maintainer function at no cost and contracting directly with Verisign, Inc. for the continued performance of this work is desirable to ensure continuity, security and stability during the transition period. The terms of the RZMA allow for the community, through a consensus-based community-driven process, to cause ICANN to transition the maintainer function to another service provider. This contract creates a nominal annual fee of USD 300,000 per year due to Verisign, Inc. for the performance of the maintainer function. The ICANN Board Finance Committee has reviewed the financial aspects and implications of the proposed RZMA and recommended approval of the RZMA to the ICANN Board, on the basis of this review.

Are there any security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS?

The Board's approval of the proposed RZMA would ensure continuity, security and stability of the operation of the root zone during the transition period and beyond.