Affirming the results of a 2007 survey and consistent with numerous comments submitted in a 2009 NTIA proceeding on DNSSEC, ccTLD operators have again indicated in a new survey they want ICANN to sign the root.  Their request stands in stark contrast to the June announcement made by the DoC which maintained the current root zone management arrangements and recommended Verisign sign the root zone.

The survey report states:

Just like in the 2007 survey, an overwhelming majority of the respondents represents the opinion that ICANN/IANA should be the signer of the root zone. The support for ICANN/IANA has even clearly increased compared to the previous study – from 68% in 2007 to 76% in 2009.

VeriSign was added as a new option in this year’s survey, to reflect the U.S. Department of Commerce’s announcement that VeriSign would manage and have operational responsibility for the Zone Signing Key in an interim arrangement to get the root zone signed. However, only 5% of the respondents supported VeriSign’s role in this arrangement.
Whilst the support for ICANN/IANA as the root zone signer dominated in most regions, the African region differed considerably in this respect: Almost 40% of the respondents from this region declared they would like to see someone else than ICANN/IANA signing the root.
There was no clear trend in what the 10% of the respondents who had replied “Other” wished for. Some indicated they were happy with the current arrangement, others suggested that the root zone management should be split between IANA and VeriSign. Some called for a neutral and non-for profit organisation to manage the root zone signing, another respondent thought the signer should be “internationally agreed”.

The fact that the arrangement being pursued by ICANN and Verisign was identified as “interim” by the DoC did not comfort all of the 65 ccTLD operators surveyed.  38% of those responding to the question were of the opinion that the arrangement, which has ICANN controlling the root zone Key Signing Key while Verisign will control the Zone Signing Key and actually sign the root zone contents, “is concerning enough to either reconsider or postpone their implementation plans until the definite plan is presented.”  

The report continues:

The main concern ccTLDs see in the arrangement seems to be VeriSign’s commercial nature. It is felt that it is inappropriate that a for-profit company should be able to have control of the root zone, where sovereign countries are represented. Some registries say they do not even have any understanding for why VeriSign should have a role at all. Another concern is that the arrangement will force the moving of data back and forth, which creates additional possible points of failure.

You can view the full survey here.  The IGP filed comments in the DoC proceeding, noting the shortcomings of the proposed solutions.