You hit the nail on the head.
One of the most contentious issues that ICANN has to preside over is the timing of any future New TLDs. There is a worldwide debate about this and legitimate public interest.
The "Proof of Concept" scenario (and need to Evaluate) has been used by the ICANN Board to justify their long and measured approach to the release of further NewTLDs.
Indeed, they've used the shambolic roll-outs (of their own creation) as a justification for the need to delay and put back dates for any further extensions.
I personally do not hold strong views one way or the other on the issue of further TLDs. I just want the system administered openly, honestly and with accountability. That isn't happening at the moment.
With regard to the Evaluation Process, as you say, the NTEPPTaskForce has been cleverly steered and directed, and has spent time deciding "how" any future Evaluations should take place.
Evaluations which should precede decisions which should precede contract bids which should precede Agreements which should precede the (as yet distant) roll-out of any more NewTLDs.
This task force DOES however draw attention to the importance of the mandatory Evaluation reports which the Registries had to submit by specified deadlines.
The NTEPPTF made the following recommendation to the ICANN Board:
"Data available as a result of Appendix U (for unsponsored gTLDs)...
(two other categories listed...)
To the extent that data obtained from the first of these sources is not confidential, every effort should be made to publish it to encourage other studies to occur."
(Section 9 - Evaluation Methodology)
Appendix U specifically defined what data was to be available for publication (the vast majority of it). And this data is central to any evaluation.
So if ICANN's own task force has said that "every effort should be made to publish" the Afilias documents, why hasn't the Board published these documents? Is the Board in possession of these documents?
The Task Force wanted ICANN to "encourage other studies to occur" and linked this to access to the mandatory documents from Afilias stipulated in Appendix U of their Registry agreement.
If the ICANN community in its various constituencies is to continue to play an INFORMED role in the vital New TLD Evaluation process, then the Board must not withhold this key data.
I find it astonishing that the Board refuses to make any comment to repeated requests for information about this data, and access to it.
I'd also like to say that as the NTEPPTF was used to plan "how" to evaluate, rather than to "do" the evaluation, it really doesn't seem that the Board has generated any momentum or participation at all over an issue that people are extremely concerned about - the issue of further New TLDs.
I can accept that process should be conscientious and thorough : what I cannot accept is that ICANN should inhibit participation and information by withholding data and documents which it must - unless it has been negligent - have by now in its possession.
That the Board refuses even to respond on this matter is, frankly, reprehensible.