Plans to increase the number of names to define Internet sites, and to introduce competition into the business of registering these names, have been outlined by the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC).
The IAHC, the body that controls naming of Internet locations, proposes creating seven new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) to add to the current ones - .com, .net and .org. The new domains will be announced in the next month by the IAHC and will be shared among all organisations responsible for registering new sites. The TLDs will be selected on the basis of public feedback and consultation with Internet standards bodies, pressure groups and governments. "We view the Internet top level domain space as a public resource that is subject to public trust," commented Donald Heath, president of the Internet Society and chair of the IAHC. "Therefore any administration, use and evolution of the TLD space is a public policy issue."
The committee aims to break the monopoly of Network Solutions (NSI) in administering allocation of the existing gTLDs. It seems likely that NSI, which operates under the auspices of the Internet Assigned Number Authority and US National Science Foundation, will be allowed to allocate site names using the new TLDs, in return for giving up sole control of .com, .net and .org addresses.
"The ultimate goal of the IAHC plan is to allow any qualified entity to become a registrar and to have every registrar sharing the ability to register domain names in all gTLDs," said the David Heath, president of the Internet Society and chair of the IAHC.
Initially, 20-30 new registrars will be licensed this year, and a similar number will be added in subsequent years, subject to annual review of the efficiency of the overall system. These limits will be removed when the ability to register names in the current three gTLDs is fully shared among registrars. At first, new registrars will be selected via a lottery of qualified candidates, with a balance between different global regions being promised.
A Council of Registrars will be created to provide the contractual, legal and public policy framework in which registrars must operate.
The committee also ruled that there will remain only one international TLD, .int, which is used only by bodies that report to multiple governments, such as United Nations organisations. It plans to create a domain space called .tm.int for Internet site trademarks.
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