The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is seeking the views of UK businesses, internet companies and domain name users on how domain name authority the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) should be reformed.
The UK-wide consultation comes three months after Icann announced that it needed to rethink its entire mission statement, financing and structure.
At the time, Icann board members poured scorn on their own organisation, calling it "a failed experiment in internet policy development" and an "unstable and suspicious environment".
Now the UK government has stepped in and plans to use a consultation process to decide how best to proceed.
Douglas Alexander, minister for ecommerce and competitiveness, said: "The domain name system is a key part of the internet's infrastructure.
"Icann performs a very important role in co-ordinating key functions of the system, and has achieved a number of successes since it was created in 1998.
"But, like any innovative and new organisation, it is right that it undertakes a reform programme. The UK, along with other governments and key stakeholders, is keen to help Icann in this process.
"I hope through this consultation to raise awareness of Icann in the UK and to solicit the views of the wide UK internet community on how Icann can best be strengthened."
The DTI's consultation paper states that it has taken no view on any of the issues as yet.
"We come to the debate from the standpoint of believing that a co-regulatory approach, where the government sets the overall public policy objectives but where implementation is left to the private sector, is most appropriate," it said.
Responses are welcome from organisations and businesses that deal directly with Icann, such as domain name registries and internet service providers, as well as other members of the UK internet community such as consumer groups and domain name holders, the DTI said.
The closing date for responses is 14 June.
Icann will decide on its reform plan at its next board meeting on 24 June in Romania and is expected to implement most of the changes by the end of 2002.
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