ICANN’s next new gTLDs application round may be closer than we thought, after a policy working group dramatically reduced the timetable for completing its work.
The Internationalized Domain Names Expedited Policy Development Process team has managed to shave a whopping 13 months off its schedule, potentially leading to a similar period being shaved off the runway to the next application window.
The IDNs EPDP had expected to deliver its final deliverables — policy recommendations on how IDNs are handled in gTLD applications — in November 2025, meaning the earliest they could be adopted by the ICANN board would be March 2026.
Because the IDNs policy is seen as a critical gating factor to the next round commencing, the date ICANN penciled in for the next application window was May 2026.
But now the IDNs EPDP group has revised its deadline down to October 2024, member Donna Austin told the GNSO Council last Thursday. This could mean the board could approve its work in early 2025.
The new target means that IDNs are no longer the biggest delaying factor on the critical path to the next window — that honor now falls on the “closed generics” problem, which a “small team” of the GNSO and Governmental Advisory Committee have been working on in private all year.
The latest thinking on closed generics is that another EPDP would be formed with an estimated run-time of 96 weeks (22 months) — a mid-2025 end date, in other words.
But there are even question marks over that optimal timeline now, following a less than supportive informal public comment period that closed last week. The closed generics small team has apparently taken a week off to ask itself some fundamental questions.
One possibility that has been suggested to speed things up is to take closed generics out of the critical path by retaining the current de facto ban for the next round.
If that were to happen, we could be looking at an application window in 2025.
But nobody ever won money betting on ICANN hitting deadlines, so take this speculation with a pinch of salt big enough to give an elephant hypertension.
The post Next round of gTLDs could come much sooner than expected first appeared on Domain Incite.