The US Government has rejected all bids it received to run the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), putting ICANN's decade-long grip over the technical contract in jeopardy.
IANA oversees global IP address allocation and root zone management in the domain name system, among other key internet functions.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been granted a six-month stay of execution to continue to manage IANA until the end of September this year.
The extension will allow the US Government department with oversight over the IANA contract to rerun the bid process.
The current rebid process, initiated in November last year, was terminated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) - an agency of the US Department of Commerce - allegedly because it "received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community".
The NTIA said it had run a consultation prior to the impending renewal of IANA on "how best to enhance the performance of the IANA functions".
"Based on the input received from stakeholders around the world, NTIA added new requirements to the IANA functions' statement of work, including the need for structural separation of policymaking from implementation, a robust companywide conflict of interest policy, provisions reflecting heightened respect for local country laws, and a series of consultation and reporting requirements to increase transparency and accountability to the international community," it said in a statement.
It did not provide specific reasons why the bids it received - including from incumbent ICANN - did not meet "the requirements of the global internet community".