RealTime IT News

Roberts: ICANN's Health Remains Strong

The head of the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers Thursday took issue with a report questioning the organization's financial stability.

An article in Thursday's Wall Street Journalsaid the organization's future is in jeopardy in part due to $1.5 million in uncollected payments from several nations that operate their own Web-address systems.

ICANN President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Roberts said he's optimistic most of the money will be received.

"The first billing was sent to 250 nations and territories just a few weeks ago," stated Mike Roberts, president and CEO of ICANN. "We never expected payment to arrive overnight. Patience is necessary."

Roberts noted that because of the invoices were sent via mail, some of the countries have had the bills in hand for less than a week, while other regions may not have received them yet. Recipients have up to 30 days to pay.

Invoices range from $500 to $500,000. To date, Roberts said, payments have been received from Japan, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, Israel and Taiwan, among others.

"More than 175 of the countries are so small, they are charged the floor rate of $500," Roberts said. "The largest territories, Germany and the United Kingdom, are charged $500,000 and $250,000, respectively."

According to the WSJ report, failure to pay the invoices will put ICANN's budget at risk as it wraps up its fiscal year on June 30.

Roberts said while the amount of the uncollected payments represents a significant chunk of the organization's budget, it is too early to panic.

"The sum of $1.5 million in a $4 million budget is significant, but we do expect people to pay. This is an element of an overall funding scheme being put into place as part of the government's strategy to transfer control of the Internet," he said.

ICANN was created in 1998 to take control of allocating IP addresses, root server management and domain administration as part of a drive to transfer control of those functions to a non-profit organization. Previously, most of those functions were overseen by Network Solutions Inc. which remains a domain registrar.