Related link: http://orsn.org/
From the ORSN FAQ:
A root server has a reference data base of all of the TLDs released by the ICANN (Top level Domain) e.g. DE, AT, CH, COM and many others.
The ORSN serves as a alternative for the existing root-server network since February 2002, which is coordinated by the ICANN. In contrast to the root servers of the ICANN, the ORSN servers should predominantly be placed in Europe. The maximum number of ORSN root-servers will be 13.
Until now, the administration is done by the USA and/or the ICANN. Therefor, a large number of root-servers is located in America. A loss or the modification of the root-server information could result in serious consequences for all other countries concerning their internet use. It is for example possible to stop a whole country from using the internet. In practice, this scenario didn’t happen so far but it can’t be excluded either.
It appears to be a local, independent ICANN root mirror and fail-safe. It subscribes to ICANN’s TLD policies, yet it reserves judgement over what it might mean for ICANN to ‘fail.’