Technical infrastructure can handle 1,000 new TLDs a year, but there will be other bottlenecks.
One of the interesting things to come from ICANN’s closed door board retreat over the weekend is this tidbit: ICANN thinks it can delegate up to 1,000 top level domain names a year without technical root scaling problems.
Staff has also developed a model and a rationale for the maximum rate of applications that can be processed over the next few years. Staff is directed to publish this model and rationale and to seek Board support for the judgments embodied in this model, thereby providing a firm basis for limiting the rate of new delegations. Based on the discussions to date, this limit is expected to be in the range of 1,000 new delegations per year, with this number to be defined precisely in the publication.
A bigger question might be if ICANN’s application queue can handle that many new top level domain name applications — it has been suggested previously that it can only handle about 300 a year through the process.
Some ICANN constituents, including Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), have asked ICANN to limit the number of TLDs approved as the system is opened. But their request seems to be based more on concerns about controversial TLDs and unforeseen political problems than root scaling. Something tells me 1,000 is a lot more than GAC is hoping for.
What if more than 1,000 applications are received for the first year? ICANN wants a way to prioritize them, and it’s not based on time stamps:
…in the event that the number of applications exceeds the maximum rate, an objective method for determining the order of application processing that conforms to the limited delegation rate (not relying primarily on time-stamping) will be defined in the Applicant Guidebook.