Hyderabad to host global net body ICANN’s first India meet

In a big win for India, the next global meeting of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will be hosted in Hyderabad, the first time it will take place in the country.

"Welcome the announcement of ICANN to hold the historic ICANN 57, 1st post transition ICANN meeting @ Hyderabad on 3-9 November 2016," Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister of communications and information technology, said in a tweet after an announcement made in a blog post by the non-profit corporation that manages domain names on the internet.

Over the past year or so, India has increased its representation at forums such as ICANN to ensure a greater say in internet governance standards. If an exercise to transfer stewardship of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions from the US government to a multi-stakeholder model meets its September deadline, ICANN57 will assume more importance.

"ICANN57 is going to be a historic meeting as it will be the first public meeting of ICANN post-IANA transition. We are very pleased that ICANN has decided to host its 57th meeting in Hyderabad," Aruna Sharma, secretary of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, told ET.

The meeting will bring the focus of the next billion new global internet users, of which 500 million would be from India, and link perfectly with the Digital India programme, she said.

At present, the US and Europe have a greater say in the online world, but that could change if India increases its participation, Indian-origin ICANN board member Ram Mohan told ET.

"The centre of gravity (of the internet) is shifting now from the US to China. If we play our cards right and if we engage, the new Holy Trinity will be China, India and the US, in that order," he said.

ICANN, which is often called the phone book of the internet, matches domain names with appropriate IP address numbers.

The body holds public meetings thrice a year, which are attended by government representatives, business managers, IT managers and consultants, DNS industry managers and experts, intellectual property managers and academics from over 150 countries.

They work on issues that lead to the formulation of globally accepted internet policies and processes.

ICANN57 will be hosted at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, the corporation said in a blog post.

"Holding ICANN57 in India sends out a strong message of commitment and confidence on all sides, especially when you consider that it's been less than a year since India formally announced its support for the multi-stakeholder approach at the ICANN53 meeting in June 2015," said Vinay Kesari, senior associate specialising in ICT law and policy at Luthra & Luthra Law Offices.

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