Yesterday evening, the GNSO held its last teleconference of the year. We had invited ICANN’s new gTLD supremo Kurt Pritz to give an update on the recent US Congress hearings.
Kurt was ICANN’s spokesperson in both hearings, and felt that the first was more favourable to ICANN than the second. When I asked him if he thought the launch of the new gTLD program might be delayed as a result of these hearings, his response was a cryptic: "the risk is greater than zero".
Although there are calls for a delay to the program, it was fiercely defended by both Pritz and some American politicians who want to see ICANN’s unique model of non state-centric governance succeed. "The New gTD Program demonstrates the strength of the bottom-up, multi-stakeholder process," Pritz said in his testimony to the US House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. "The New gTLD Program under discussion today is the implementation of an ICANN-community policy recommendation to achieve one of ICANN’s foundational mandates."