I attended the webinar and produced the analysis below:
One of the highlights of the webinar was the reveal of new dates in the new TLD evaluation and delegation process.
We now have a better understanding of the timeline which will allow us to plan more accurately for the launch of .Africa.
Based on what has currently been stated by ICANN and the new dates provided in the webinar, here is the likely timing of the coming milestones :
The Applicant Guidebook notes that evaluators may need to ask questions of applicants to clarify aspects of their applications that do not contain enough information .
In the webinar, Mr Pritz revealed that ICANN intends to ask clarifying questions of a “large number” of applicants. Specifically, he said more than 90 percent of applications will require at least one clarifying question regarding financial status, while more than 40 percent will require a question regarding technical responses.
Results from the String Similarity Panel for contention sets will be presented to ICANN in October. The Panel, which decides which new TLDs are too similar to each other to co-exist, is not expected to give its results to ICANN until late October. Applicants will probably not know the full size of their contention sets until a couple of weeks after that in November.
Finally, Mr Pritz also revealed a few new statistics worth sharing. 342 applications have already been evaluated while three applications have been withdrawn. Mr Pritz also said ICANN has received 49 requests to make changes to applications, a process for which will be published in the coming days.
Overall, the webinar demonstrates that ICANN is progressing with the applications evaluation .
ICANN plans to conduct a series of webinars throughout the new TLD process. I will provide you with updates from future webinars.
Mohamed El Bashir
Chairperson, dotAfrica SteerCom