ICANN, the body that manages everything from IP addresses to top-level domains, will keep control of these key functions until at least 2015. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, part of the US Department of Commerce, announced on Monday that it had renewed the contract for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which gives ICANN high-level control over allocating IP addresses, administering the root name servers that underlie the Domain Name System, and assigning numbering resources among other things. There's more to ICANN than these systems, but they're vitally important for both it and the internet at large.
ICANN's current contract for the IANA expires September 30, 2012; the new one lasts until late 2015 with the option to renew for two further two-year terms. The non-profit company has managed these systems since 1999, taking over from Department of Defense-funded administrator Jon Postel. The fact that it's a US-created corporation operating under the auspices of the American government, however, hasn't always sat well with the rest of the world. A UN-based organization, for example, has recently been vying to take over some of ICANN's functions.