IETF is to deliver technical solutions. IANA is to deliver a registry
service. What is ICANN up to? Except what we agree: "to guest forums" to
help consensus there.
BTW is that very different from ITU? Just that Paul Twomey's Nov 19th
document would have resulted from a painstakingly g/sTLD consensus and
would not have worried ccTLDs.
This doesn't completely cover it. For example, the IETF delivers
standards. The ITU also delivers standards. The ITU has issued competing
standards such as IS-IS, X.400, X.500 etc, etc, etc. The IANA and ICANN
functions are also similarly performed by the ITU. For example, the
allocation of Radio frequences, and radio call sign prefixes. Obviously,
the functions of the IETF, IANA, and ICANN could be done by the ITU, and
the ITU has considerable experience in these areas.
I think there is very little credence to any legal benefits of being
incorporated in Switzerland versus the US. Indeed, generally, one must
incorporate in any country in which one has permanent employees. If the
ITU were to take over the IETF/IANA/ICANN and their US employees, it would
still be incorporated in the US, as well as in other countries.
Organizations can be sued in any country they do business in whether they
are incorporated there or not, so it doesn't matter too much where they
are incorporated. There are variations in the fees to maintain a
corporation, but these are minimal. For example, it costs about $300/yr in
Massachussets, versus about $125/yr in Delaware. Delaware also has
extensive support by the state department of corporations for finding the
necessary corporate agents, who charge nominal fees to be the corporate
agent. This causes most corporations to be incorporated in Delaware.
Other than minor issues like that, there is little benefit. While
different countries have different tax structures, these are likely to be
of little to no consequence to a standards organization.
The real issues with moving the IETF/IANA/ICANN functions under the ITU
are questions of economics and democratic constituencies. It is these
questions that really need to be addressed:
Quite obviously, duplication of the administration efforts results in
wasted money. The only reason to keep them separate is to perform this
job better. As has been often pointed out, the IETF is fairly sloppy in
its administration. Clearly, moving the administration of IETF activities
and standards to the ITU would be a benefit for all in terms of savings
and in terms of improved administration.
The main criticism of the IETF/IANA/ICANN by the rest of the world seems
to fall under the democratic constituencies issue. People outside the US
seem to distrust the US, and feel that their voices are not being heard,
and that they aren't being represented properly. I don't know whether
there is a truly genuine failing in this respect, but there is clearly a
widespread concern. The perception is just as serious as an actual
Given that the enconomics seems to point to consolidation with the ITU,
and the fact that many seem to place more trust in the ITU, I think we
ought to seriously consider this option. I've been though the merger of
standards groups incorporated in different countries, as a technical
consultant, and the results have been very positive. The benefits are
similar to the benefits gained by the merger of companies. The main
difference being that the "users" have much more say in the direction of a
standards group than the customers of two private companies.
Of course, the ITU also needs to agree to sign on to take over this
responsibility, and it will require additional funding for the ITU, and it
is unclear the that the funding for ICANN/IANA/IETF will be transferred to
the ITU if such a change is made. Essentially, this means that the rest
of the world will have to put more money into ITU funding.
Av8 Internet, Inc