ICANN and the NRO Sign MoU on the Address Supporting Organization that Safeguards Best Policies for Distribution of Internet Numbers

RESTON, VA – Today, the Number Resource Organization (NRO) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) signed a formal agreement that will allow those with the greatest interest in the strength and viability of the Internet to play a significant policy making role in the global distribution of Internet numbers.

The agreement – a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – specifically concerns the Address Supporting Organization (ASO). It stipulates how the NRO will fulfil the role, responsibilities, and functions of the ASO as outlined in the ICANN Bylaws. The signing ceremony took place at the biannual Public Policy Meeting of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN).

For the Internet community, the new ASO MoU outlines a policy process that promotes industry self-regulation of the unallocated number resource pool (IPv4, IPv6, and AS numbers). The same policy process has been in practice for years in each of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) that comprise the NRO.

“This is an important development for the global Internet community,” said Paul Wilson, NRO Chair. “The MoU fosters RIR cooperation, providing mutual benefit for the development of global policies that affect all RIR communities, while preserving the individual policy development procedures used by the various RIR communities to make their own decisions.”

The ASO was originally formed in 1999 by a MoU between the RIRs and ICANN. The purpose of the ASO is to review and develop recommendations on number resource policy and to advise the ICANN Board on these matters.

The new MoU describes a procedure for global policy development. This is a 15-step process for global policies that the RIR communities cannot ratify on their own, such as policies defining how the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allocates address space to the RIRs. This process ensures that global policies continue to be developed in the bottom-up, open and transparent manner common to all RIR communities. The MoU does not affect how each regional community and RIR arrives at a policy position. The regional community for each RIR will continue to determine the processes used to arrive at a policy position for their region.

Another new feature in the MoU replaces the members of ASO Address Council (AC) with the members of the NRO Number Council (NC). The voting scheme for the NRO NC is similar to the former voting scheme used for the ASO AC, where two members are selected by the regional policy forum of each of the RIRs. The only difference is that for the NRO NC, the Executive Board of each RIR also appoints one person from its respective region.

As in the 1999 MoU, the ASO Address Council will provide recommendations to the Board of ICANN concerning the recognition of new RIRs as well as define procedures for selection of individuals to serve on other ICANN bodies such as the ICANN Board. As under the current system, the RIRs provide all funding for the ASO.

About the Number Resource Organization (NRO)

Formed by the Regional Internet Registries in 2003, the NRO acts as the coordinating mechanism on matters relating to their mutual interests. The NRO exists to protect the unallocated number resource pool, to promote and protect the bottom-up policy development process, and to act as a focal point for Internet community input into the RIR system.

Its founding members are: APNIC, serving the Asia-Pacific region; ARIN, serving North America, portions of the Caribbean, and continental Africa south of the equator; LACNIC, serving Latin America and portions of the Caribbean; and RIPE NCC, serving Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and continental Africa north of the equator. The NRO is currently actively engaged in the establishment of a fifth RIR to manage Internet number resources in Africa. AFRINIC will serve those portions of Africa that are currently served by APNIC, ARIN, and RIPE NCC.

Full text of the ASO MoU

More information about the NRO is available at:

Contact Information
Paul Rendek
Email: nro@nro.net

Last modified on 27/10/2015