ICANN 51: Accountability for F-Root Operations

ISC has operated F-Root, one of the world’s thirteen root name servers, since 1994. We have this service deployed around the world in 55 locations to offer fast, reliable access even in otherwise underserved parts of the world. We have well over a thousand peers. F-Root is supported with the help of multi-year donations in kind from many service providers and other Internet organizations. We partner with regional Internet registries, including LACNIC, APNIC, and AfriNIC, and many local sponsors to deploy F-Root all over the globe, with hosting services provided by Equinix and others, and transit bandwidth donated by NTT, Hurricane, Telia, Cogent, and AboveNet. Cisco, Juniper, and Arbor Networks have all donated hardware for F-Root too.

As the F-Root operator, we participate in technical policy discussions about the future of the Internet and its critical infrastructure. This week, we’ve been at the ICANN51 meetings in Los Angeles, where people are talking a lot about “accountability.”

That word “accountability” means different things to different people. For us and F-Root, it starts with realizing that it’s not enough to do an excellent job providing DNS service for the root to users throughout the world. We have to communicate with the broader Internet community, so people will know they can rely on us to continue providing the service, according to principles that put their interests first. We’ll keep the systems running. If something breaks, we’ll fix it. And as the Internet grows, so will our service. Our mission is to support the infrastructure of the Internet. We are committed to providing responsive, affordable DNS root service to underserved communities around the world, and are adding root nodes in those areas as we get funding or sponsorship for them.

We demonstrate these values in the information we make available about F-Root: where our servers are and how to talk to us about peering or adding an F-Root site of your own. Third-party services such as dnsmon also make it possible for anyone, anywhere to see how we’re doing.

We work with other root server operators and the broader Internet community to build on our shared commitments to each other and to our users. ISC was a founding member of the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) in ICANN and the first to sign an agreement with ICANN regarding the operation of a root name server; you can see the document at http://archive.icann.org/en/froot/ICANN-ISC-MRA-26dec07.pdf. We’ve contributed to the recent restructuring of RSSAC for increased effectiveness and transparency, and to documents in progress to tell the community more about how the root servers operate and what we’re committed to providing. At ICANN51 and other events, we’ve met with other root server operators, ICANN staff, DNS operators, and government officials to get their input on services and information we could offer.

We also want to hear from you! What do you want to know about F-Root? Contact the team via our contact form or f-root@isc.org.

Jim Martin, Director of Operations

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