The European Commission has stepped up its investigation of Internet domain name registrar Network Solutions Inc (NSI) following a string of complaints from competitors.
But NSI, which only recently lost its monopoly on supplying top level domains such as .com and .org, maintains it has done nothing wrong.
The EC has been closely monitoring NSI’s activities in the change over to a global competitive domain name system. The investigation follows complaints to the EC from three domain name registrars claiming anti competitive tactics by NSI. (see Newswire 6 July 1999)
But this week the Directorate General for Competition (DG IV) ordered an enquiry into the company’s licensing agreements with second level of the test bed registrars for top level domain names.
The news also follows a complaint earlier this week from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) to the US Congress that NSI is being obstructive to the change over, which Icann is in charge of.
Icann told Congress, "NSI has to date refused to accept the policy authority of Icann, although it continues to 'participate' in the creation of Icann institutions and policies. It has [also] funded and encouraged a variety of Icann critics." (see Newswire 27 July 1999)
A spokeswoman for NSI said of the latest investigation: "We take their concerns not lightly, but feel we are operating within the boundaries of the operating agreement with the US government. We are very interested in working on a global basis to facilitate the further development of the Internet."
The DGIV expressed concern that there is a lack of safeguards to prevent NSI from discriminating against competing registrars and could therefore abuse its position.
As NSI was established before Icann, it is not subject to the conditions and obligations set out in Icann’s accreditation. The DGIV believes that NSI should be required to get accreditation from Icann and be subject to at least to the same obligations as competing registrars.
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