New York, May 26, 2010 - On October 3, 2009 the NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) issued a Request for Proposals for “services to obtain, manage, administer, maintain and market the geographic Top Domain name .nyc”.

The New York Chapter of the Internet Society has followed the .nyc TLD acquisition process for several years and on May 8, 2010 hosted a seminar “dot nyc – How are we doing?” The symposium was held at NYU and moderated by Joly MacFie, Secretary of the New York Chapter.

NYC Council Member Gale Brewer delivered the keynote and then took questions. In her opening remarks CM Brewer made several points including the following:

  • There’s a public process at ICANN and there’s a public process, we would like to say, before it goes to ICANN.
  • What we are interested in at the city council is what does the city of New York get out of it. We are desperate for revenue. And we are interested in what public input goes into an ICANN proposal. And certainly we would like to have at the very least a public-private partnership, not just a private.­
  • And the other advantage to doing a public process with a sign off and resolution from the city council is that it makes it a stronger application at ICANN. That makes a huge difference.

After her comments CM Brewer took several questions.

Q. Joly MacFie - ICANN has said that you are going to have to show that you have to show support from the community and this means that you have to have a resolution from the council. Obviously the mayor is the administrator, he’s got to present that to the council.

A. CM Brewer - Absolutely. I think that would be the time to figure out what the city gets out of it. What the public gets out of it.

Q. Joly MacFie - I think before then there should be process. DoITT should say we have a bunch of proposals, they are all very interesting, there are these issues, have a public hearing on those issues, it might be Council Member Garodnick’s Telecommunications committee, and from that make a secondary call for proposals, a second sound of things, before we go ahead.

A. CM Brewer - I would agree, and then you have a second round of criteria. Based on the public input.

Q. Tom Lowenhaupt (Director, Connecting.nyc Inc.) - The ICANN requires a letter of support from the local governing authority. I’ve always thought the city council served that role…

A. CM Brewer - I don’t know the answer to that question. We’ll have to have that researched. This is something that will be extremely controversial if it’s not done with some public input. I think politically, I don’t know about legally, that would count as the city council and the administration. Politically from DoITT’s perspective, this is not something that will affect just the administration. This will have huge impact on business, on nonprofits and everybody in New York. Everyone. So I would assume they would want to have public hearings on it, politically.  It would be crazy to have something go to ICANN without public input. I think they’ll see it that way.

Q. Tom Lowenhaupt - Do you think at this point the Technology Committee is the more appropriate one?

A. CM Brewer - Technology, Small Business, there are a lot of joint hearings at this point, trying to get more participation. At least two committees will have hearings. I will attend all of them. I will write a letter to DoITT after today’s hearing asking for updates and send you all copies, asking for public hearings on whatever committees that need to be part of this. The new commissioner Carol Post comes from the mayor’s office of operations. She’s very open. She understands that it’s very important to get public input. She’s very close to the administration, so she’s not afraid of bucking them.

Q. Joly MacFie - It seems like there is some type of process that if we got a proposal together and brought it to the Community Boards to say we like this idea.

­A. CM Brewer - Yes. I think Community Boards would be very interested in a community .nyc because they want to highlight the businesses in the neighborhood. Absolutely.

After Council Member Brewer concluded the Q&A, Eric Brunner-Williams of CORE Internet Council of Registrars, the only vendor to participate in the day’s events, presented details of CORE’s proposal. 

Finally, there was a discussion “What’s it for?” about possible applications – civic, community, commercial, and “outside the box” for a city-TLD. Speakers included Tom Lowenhaupt of Connecting.nyc Inc. (CNI) and Richard Knipel of Wikimedia NYC.

Lowenhaupt spoke of his long involvement with .nyc leading to the creation of Connecting.nyc in 2006. He presented his vision of governance for the TLD based on the model of the city’s cable TV public access channels, and described two recent efforts: The Flushing Community and dotNeighborhoods that point the way toward .nyc operating as a community TLD. After describing the dotNeighborhoods project, he introduced Richard Knipel who described a research project Wikimedia NYC will be undertaking in support of dotNeighborhoods this summer.

For more on the Symposium, including a video and stills, see this Internet Society page.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page.