Letter to ICANN and Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)

I would like to draw your attention to an urgent issue which we believe could significantly impact the future openness and competitiveness of the ICT market in Europe, and is particularly pressing in terms of the nascent but hugely significant market for Cloud Computing. ICANN sometime ago announced plans to allow the creation of generic top level domains (gTLDs), but few recognised the threat that a single company could effectively control the usage of some of those ‘closed generic’ domains – with potential substantial impact – as is the case with .cloud. If unchallenged this could allow a single dominant company to control usage, establish lock-in, and act in a way that would seem to challenge the core of the Commission’s strategy on Cloud Computing of openness, competition and choice.

I attach the letter that OpenForum Europe has today sent to ICANN, both expressing concern on the apparent lack of discussion with Government and the market, the process itself, but also constructively we hope suggested options that could instead enhance the development of the market.

May I request that jointly you on behalf of the Commission instigate direct discussions with ICANN and establish whether you believe their proposals support European policy, or if, as we believe not, how they can be challenged and a more constructive route forward found.