February 5, 2008 – iGrowthGlobal president Thomas Lenard today filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) on the Midterm Review of the 2006 Joint Project Agreement (JPA) that NTIA has with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). NTIA is requesting comments on whether ICANN is making progress toward fulfilling its responsibilities under the JPA, and on the continued transition to the private sector of the technical coordination and management of the Internet’s domain name and addressing system.
Lenard said, “The fact that ICANN may be making progress toward meeting its responsibilities does not imply that the JPA is no longer needed. Indeed, it may demonstrate the value of the JPA. If ICANN’s progress is related to the JPA and the existing tie to the Department of Commerce, then terminating that arrangement would be counterproductive to continued progress.”
He added that “simply terminating the JPA is likely to lead to unanticipated and undesirable consequences. Before taking such a step, there needs to be a lot more analysis of its implications. Most importantly, there needs to be a lot more planning to develop a structure for a ‘privatized’ ICANN, providing it with the right incentives and constraints that will assure the long-term health of the Internet. The JPA should only be concluded if there is a plan in place that defines and can assure ICANN’s good performance over time.”
Lenard stated that decisions in this area are very important. “The Internet is now the main driver of the digital economy, as well as a means to communicate and distribute information more efficiently and more widely than ever before. Thus, the governance of the Internet has far-reaching economic, political and social ramifications. ICANN is a unique organization. It is a non-profit corporation under California law, but unlike literally any other non-profit, ICANN makes decisions of major economic and social consequence throughout the world.”
iGrowthGlobal is a think tank that focuses on the economics of innovation and technological change in the United States and around the world. iGG produces original, rigorous research and sponsors educational programs and conferences on major issues affecting information technology and communications policy. iGG is a 501(c)(3) research and educational organization.