An ICANN working group recently released a report entitled, “New gTLD Program Reviews and Assessments Draft Work Plan,” which outlines the work required to initiate a ‘second-round’ application period for the New gTLD Program. The report reveals that so far in round one, “…404 new gTLDs have been delegated. A total of 1,168 applicants have been invited to contracting. Of those applications in string contention sets, 49% remain subject to contention resolution procedures, forecast to be completed by the third quarter of 2016.” ICANN estimates that contracting will wrap up some time in late 2016 and pre-delegation testing by the middle of 2017.
ICANN’s current timeline for a second round roll-out indicates that the first application period for new gTLDs would begin sometime mid-2018. But this can/will only happen if every scheduled milestone is met along the way. Before a round two would even be considered, ICANN would need validate new gTLDs and related processes, promote competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice.