During the week-long ICANN 54 meeting in Dublin, Ireland, nothing dominated discussions than the IANA stewardship transition proposal.

In recent years, the Internet’s global multi-stakeholder community has agitated for the removal of the U.S government from control of the DNS root control. This move birthed to the now famous IANA stewardship transition, a hot topic that is literally on everyone’s lips.

The IANA stewardship transition phase on the status of ICANN was initiated by the National Telecommunication and information Administration’s (NTIA’s) announcement in March 2014. This phase was highly anticipated to complete by 30th September 2015.

However, after factoring in time for public comment, the U.S. government evaluation, and implementation of the proposals, the Internet community projected that it could take at least a year for this process to complete. Technically, this means that netizens will have to wait until September 2016.

Beyond 2016, there are options to extend the contract for up to three additional years if needed.

Bonface Witaba ICANN 54
Bonface Witaba presenting at ICANN 54 in Dublin, Ireland (2015)

In Dublin, outgoing ICANN president, and CEO Fadi Chehade emphasised the need to “let go” of the Internet by the U. S government if it were to grow to greater heights. Fadi likened the Internet to a child, stating that the only way to let a child prosper in life is by giving them that independence when the appropriate time comes so that they can be able to explore, and grow.

In the past, the transition process has faced opposition from a section of the U.S congress.

President Barack Obama has been seen to be a strong supporter of Net Neutrality and the transition process as a whole. His departure from office and an imminent regime change in the U.S may however just cast a shadow of doubt on the whole IANA process.

As all eyes are set on the U.S presidential elections, perhaps the questions the Internet fraternity maybe asking themselves is,

"is there still hope or it’s just another hype as far as the stewardship transition is concerned?”

Cover Image, Dublin, Ireland | Bonface Witaba