During the process of developing the JAS WG Final Report, various questions have been asked by the ICANN community, Board, and staff.  Below are the questions most frequently asked, along with the JAS WG’s answers.



1)  What is the relationship between the JAS WG’s proposed Developing Economies Support Program and ICANN’s New gTLD Applicant Guidebook?

The WG believes that the recommendations presented in this Draft Final Report should not affect the process outlined in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook (AG).  It sees the Support Program as a separate, necessary process to be established in parallel with the New gTLD Program process as described in the AG.  

Assuming that the recommendations in this Report are endorsed by the WG’s chartering organizations and ICANN’s Board, the WG recommends that the ICANN staff produce an application or instruction manual describing the Developing Economies Support Program overall and the application process specifically.. It should clearly describe the kinds of support available and how to apply for it.  This application manual should be a guide for potential and actual Support Candidates.

The WG envisions this manual to follow, where possible, the format and style of the AG. The WG further recommends that this instruction manual be published at least in the six United Nations languages. 

2)  Running a Registry can be expensive. How can a Candidate that needs financial assistance to pay the application fees actually fund the running of a Registry?

The ability to fund a Registry is not a neutral or objective criterion. For example, the cost of risk capital in places like New York and London for a speculative investment is qualitatively and quantifiably different than that cost in Central and South America, Africa, Asia and much of Europe.

Additionally, experience has shown that successful Registry operations may begin with minimal capitalization.  The marketing budget for .cat, for instance, was a total of Euro2,000, paid to print bookmarks that were distributed by retail bookstores. In its second month of operation, with a non-exploitive Sunrise/Landrush reflecting a competently drafted rights-of-others policy, the operation became profitable and has remained so in every subsequent quarter. Experience has also shown that high capitalization does not necessarily guarantee successful initial Registry operations. (A complete listing of all current gTLD Registries, including .cat, can be found at http://www.icann.org/en/registries/listing.html.)

Financial support provided during the pre-revenue period would help solve the pre-revenue cost problem for a Support Candidate by lowering the cost of capital. Since the cost of capital is significantly greater in the areas defined by the UN as emerging markets/nations, the absence of any such support, as a means of levelling the playing field, would leave the already-existing Registries, along with their regional markets and interests, with a significant advantage over qualified new entrants, their regional markets, and the interests of their users.



3)  When should support be offered – in the first round or later? 

It is the unanimous opinion of the WG that support should be offered starting in the first round of new gTLD applications.  This is necessary to ensure a level playing field for new gTLD applicants from developing economies.  Also, the provision of support from the start of the Program has become important for the credibility of ICANN itself in what is no doubt going to be a highly scrutinized process.

For a comprehensive list of the reasons the WG is strongly recommending that support be offered from the first round of applications onward, please see the relevant section of this Report above.




4)  If the WG-recommended fee reductions are implemented, how would this impact the goal of the New gTLD Program to be self-funded?

The GNSO Implementation guidelines state that the overall New gTLD Program be self-funding.  The specific Policy guideline states that “Application fees will be designed to ensure that adequate resources exist to cover the total cost to administer the new gTLD process. Application fees may differ for Candidates.”

Certain fees are inappropriate for Support Candidates that meet the requirements of the New gTLD Program. The Policy guideline allows for a differentiated fee structure as long as the total resources cover the entire cost of the Program.




5)  The WG’s support proposal is supposed to be sustainable. In what respect is this solution sustainable?

The WG’s proposed Developing Economies Support Program is certainly meant to sustainably assist Support-Approved Candidates. 

The primary aspect that makes the Support Program sustainably able to provide financial support to Support-Approved Candidates is the requirement that successful Candidates pay certain support money back into the Program.  This requirement will be monitored and the support administered by the foundation that the JAS WG is proposing.

Reduced fees would enable a prospective Registry to enter the market with a reduced debt burden.  In the case of community gTLDs, in which a community either is contributing to the expenses or is intended to reap the benefits once a gTLD is established, lower initial costs would contribute not only to sustaining the gTLD operations but would  have the added benefit of lowering the risk for the community.

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