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National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Comments re: Expressions of Interest (EOIs) proposal for new gTLDs

  • To: <draft-eoi-model@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Comments re: Expressions of Interest (EOIs) proposal for new gTLDs
  • From: "Stabbe, Mitchell" <mstabbe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 15:29:57 -0500

On behalf of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA),
I am submitting the following comments on the draft model of the
Expressions of Interest ("EOIs") proposal for new generic top-level
domain names..
A copy of these comments is attached in .pdf format.
Thank you very much.
Mitchell H. Stabbe      
Attorney at Law 
1200 New Hampshire Avenue, NW Suite 800 
Washington, DC 20036-6802       
T  202-776-2929 
M  301-943-4393 
F  202-776-4929 
E  mstabbe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx        
www.dowlohnes.com <http://www.dowlohnes.com/>   
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January 27, 2010

To:       ICANN (draft-eoi-model@xxxxxxxxx)

From:   National Cable & Telecommunications Association

Re:       Expression of Interest/Pre-Registration of New gTLDs Proposal


Dear Mr. Beckstrom, Mr. Dengate-Thrush and the ICANN Board of Directors:

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association ("NCTA") appreciates
the opportunity to submit the following comments to ICANN on its draft
model for soliciting Expressions of Interest ("EOIs") for new generic
top-level domain names
<http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/eoi-model-18dec09-en.pdf> .

I           Introductory Statement

NCTA is the principal trade association representing the cable
television industry in the United States.  Its members include cable
operators serving more than 90% of the nation's cable television
subscribers, more than 200 cable programming networks, and suppliers of
equipment and providers of services to the cable industry.

NCTA's program network members have invested literally billions of
dollars to establish and promote some of the best-known and most trusted
brands nationally and internationally in cable programming and broadband
content.  Moreover, the cable operator members of NCTA are the nation's
largest providers of high-speed Internet access.  From 1996 to 2008, the
cable industry invested over $146 billion (and almost $15 billion in
2008 alone) to build out a two-way interactive network with fiber optic
technology.  This investment in broadband networks by the cable industry
has, in turn, enabled members of NCTA to provide state-of-the-art
digital telephone service (Voice over Internet Protocol or "VoIP") to
millions of American consumers.

II.         Summary of EOI/Pre-Registration Proposals

ICANN has asked for comments on a draft model for Expressions of
Interest in applying for a new gTLD.  The model requires those who wish
to express their interest in a new gTLD to provide certain basic data,
including the string in which they have an interest.  The Board has
stated that such a program could give both ICANN and potential
applicants important information about the level of interest in the
program and likely strings for which applications will be submitted.
ICANN has indicated that it needs this information to ensure, among
other things, that it can support the actual demand for new gTLDs
without risking the stability of the DNS.

Under the proposed EOI model, an Expression of Interest must be
accompanied by a deposit of $55,000 (US) as a credit against the
evaluation fee (currently $185,000 (US)).  This deposit is nonrefundable
unless the gTLD program does not launch within a certain time period
(eighteen months).  Thus, the EOI program would also operate as a
pre-registration program.  Significantly, under the proposed
EOI/pre-registration model, potential applicants for new gTLDs who wish
to be in the first round of applicants must submit an Expression of
Interest.  Those who do not submit the EOI and required deposit will
only be able to apply for a new gTLD after the first round is completed.

III.       It Is Premature to Require Pre-Registration as a Condition
for Being among the First Group of Applicants

Particularly coupled with the extremely limited circumstances under
which the not insubstantial required fee can be refunded, the pairing of
making an expression of interest with a pre-registration application
seems manifestly unreasonable.  All the goals of an EIO could be
accomplished without pre-registration and certainly without
pre-registration that precludes an opportunity to apply for a new gTLD
in the first round of applications.  Indeed, there are alternatives to
the EOI model entirely.

Many details about the proposed gTLD program remain open.  The effect of
the requirement for a non-refundable deposit on an application is that
the participants in this model will be making a commitment to and
investment in a major undertaking without knowing its details.
Moreover, any potential applicants that wish to know the details of the
new gTLD program before making a commitment will have to suffer the
consequence of being precluded from the first round of applicants.
There can be no reasonable basis for compelling potential bona fide
applicants to make such a choice now.

In addition, EOIs may be due as much as eighteen months before the first
round of gTLD applications is accepted.  Accordingly, businesses and
organizations that do not exist today will find themselves barred from
any opportunity whatsoever to participate in the first round of

These considerations militate against the current proposal to allow EOIs
coupled with a requirement for payment of a non-refundable deposit as a
condition to being among the first permitted to submit an application.

IV.       Conclusion

NCTA and its members appreciate the opportunity to provide their
comments to ICANN on the proposal for soliciting Expressions of
Internet.  We request that our concerns, as expressed above, be taken in
consideration in determining whether to proceed with the Expression of
Interest / Pre-Registration proposal at all and, if so, when and how it
will be implemented.

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Jill Luckett

Senior Vice President, Program Network Policy

National Cable & Telecommunications Association

25 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

Suite 100

Washington, D.C. 20001-1431


January 27, 2010


Mitchell H. Stabbe

Dow Lohnes PLLC

1200 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W.

Suite 800

Washington, D.C.  20036-6802

(202) 776-2929 (phone)

(202) 776-4929 (fax)



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Attachment: NCTA_ Comments to ICANN re EOI proposal (2).pdf
Description: Adobe PDF Document

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