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NTIA extends contract with ICANN by one year [updated]

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration told Congress on Friday that it had extended its contract to provide key domain name server functions of the Internet with ICANN for one year to September 30, 2016.

The U.S. announced its intent to transition the contract to ICANN in March 2014 after the contract expires September 30, 2015. However, the transition is taking more time. ICANN is currently in the process of reviewing final drafts of its proposals; comments are due Sept. 8.

“After factoring in time for public comment, U.S. Government evaluation and implementation of the proposals, the community estimated it could take until at least September 2016 to complete this process,” Larry Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, wrote in a blog post Monday. “This one-year extension will provide the community with the time it needs to finish its work.”

If the transition needs more time, the NTIA has the option to extend the IANA contract for up to three years.

Supporters of making sure Congress has some oversight of the proposed transition, called the contract extension “an important step.”

“The administration is recognizing, as it should, that it is more important to get this issue right than it is to simply get it done,” said House energy and commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), communications and technology subcommittee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.).

“A key component of the bipartisan DOTCOM Act, which was overwhelmingly approved by the House, is to ensure Congressional oversight and provide concrete accountability and transparency measures for the transition. By extending the United States’ role in these functions, we are creating an environment for ongoing dialogue and decision making instead of a rush to meet artificial deadlines,” the lawmakers said.