Applicants must register a slot in Icann’s TLD Application System before March 29 2012.
Applicants have until April 12 to submit their applications.
Icann will check that all applications are complete before publishing the list of strings by April 27.
Both a public comment period and Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) early warning period open for 60 days.
A seven-month objection period opens. Objections can be filed on four grounds: legal rights; community; string confusion; limited public interest.
The GAC can also ask Icann to block a gTLD if members feel it could be sensitive in their countries or violate their laws.
An initial evaluation process opens where a team of evaluators assesses each gTLD and carries out background screening checks on applicants. This process is expected to last five months but if applications exceed 500 then Icann will place applications into batches. Processing applications that are not in the first batch will therefore take longer than five months.
Applications that pass initial evaluation will be ready for pre-delegation testing; applications that fail this initial stage can enter extended evaluation, where panels may reject some applications.
If applications pass initial evaluation, are in the first batch, do not receive any formal objections and pass pre-delegation testing, then they will be ready to launch and their registries will open.
There are many permutations in this process, especially if there are auctions, dispute resolution procedures and discussions with the GAC. Icann says complex applications may not receive the go-ahead until 2014.
But the most straightforward applications should be in the root by January or February 2013 – a year and a half after the Icann board voted in favour of the gTLD programme.
Later in 2013
After all the applications have been processed, there will be three reviews of the system. Once these are completed, Icann will launch a second round of applications.
See also: Icann offers olive branch to needy applicants and Politicians win power to block gTLDs.
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