In March 2014 the US Government announced its intent to transition away from the current system of oversight of core Internet functions, and move the obligations of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) over to the international multi-stakeholder community. The current contract is set to expire on 30 September 2015, and thenceforth a new globalised model has the opportunity to come into being. This article describes the current Internet governance model, and the process towards a future mode of operation.
2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Although neither a forum focussed exclusively on “Internet governance” nor the first discussion of the topic, WSIS marked the start of a global, decade-long debate on how the Internet is, and should be, managed. A decade later, the Internet has grown exponentially, bringing about massive cultural, social and economic change. And yet, many of the political and policy issues around its governance largely remain the same and are regularly debated in a wide range of fora. This article draws upon historical experiences in the Internet governance debate to explain and assess current discussions and to cast a wary eye into the future.