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IGC: OK With ICANN Hand-Off if Core Principles Preserved

The Internet Governance Coalition (IGC), whose members include Comcast and Time Warner Cable, will tell the Senate that it supports transitioning U.S. oversight functions over to ICANN, the domain naming system (DNS) body, and IANA (the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority that oversees IP addresses), from the U.S. to a multistakeholder model, but only so long as certain core principles are maintained.

There has been some concern expressed, by Republicans and some Democrats, about transitioning that oversight from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, but the NTIA has argued the function is primarily ceremonial and, in any event, the hand-off wouldn't mean a foreign government takeover of those key functions.

In prepared testimony for a Feb. 25 Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the hand-off, Ambassador David Gross, former coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy in the George W. Bush administration and representing IGC, said that given NTIA chief Larry Strickling's support of a multi-stakeholder model and NTIA's "explicit commitment not to accept any proposal that could replace its role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization," combined with enhanced transparency and accountability, would make that transition possible.

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