The launch of the .africa TLD by the ZACR has been delayed due to the ongoing Independent Review Process between ICANN and DotConnectAfrica (DCA), Neil Dundas, chief operating officer of the SA-based ZA Central Registry (ZACR) said.
The DCA, whose domain name registry operates out of Kenya, initially submitted a separate competing application for .africa, but without government support, Dundas said.
As a result of the lack of support and the subsequent Governmental Advisory Committee consensus advice against the DCA application, Dundas said the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names (ICANN) board correctly denied DCA’s application
The DCA has unsuccessfully challenged this decision on a number of levels, including a complaint to the ICANN Ombudsman and letters to the US Congress.
“DCA’s latest challenge involves an accountability review process called the ‘Independent Review Process’, or IRP,” Dundas said.
A final decision from the IRP on whether to uphold the original ICANN Board Decision is expected by the end of May 2014.
“However, in the interim pending the final decision, the ZACR’s application has been progressing through the compliance processes determined by ICANN for the delegation of the name,” Dundas said. “This interim decision essentially advises ICANN to suspend any possible delegation of .africa until the final decision is given.”
Depending on how ICANN elects to deal with the final IRP decision could delay the launch of the .africa top-level doman (TLD) to late June or early July.
The ZACR had been planning on launching the TLD to the public in early June.
“We do not believe that the final IRP decision will in any way change ICANN’s decision to ultimately delegate the .africa TLD to the ZACR,” Dundas said. “It is now just a matter of time.”