Six UK companies have gained the right to administer certain Internet domain names, and challenge Internic's monopoly over Internet naming.
Netbenefit was the first to be accepted into the Council of Registrars (COR) in the first stage of clearing up the mess that has dogged Internic and domain naming in the past year. The COR is the body aimed at challenging Internic over the rights to register domain names such as .com or .org.
Virtual Internet made a similar announcement shortly after. Companies including Just Results, Business Names Registration, Corpex and Netlink Internet Services have also qualified under the three-month long registrar selection process.
The UK companies should be able to start registering new global top level domains such as .firm and .store from early next year and will challenge Internic for .com registration when its exclusive five-year contract on naming expires next March.
"The problem has been that Internet naming has been run on a professional but not on a commercial basis," said Jason Drummond, managing director of Virtual Internet. Internic has been plagued by problems including a massive network crash in July and rows with customers over alleged non-payment or multipayment of registrations.
"An efficient registration body must be built from the ground up," said Dr Jonathan Robinson, managing director of Netbenefit. "NSI (the company which runs Internic under licence) and Internic have been grown organically.
We're being built from the ground up knowing the size of the market."
However John Wood, senior Internet consultant at computer services firm Prince, claims that COR is not yet ready to challenge Internic. "The private sector wants to work with COR but the timeframe needs to be longer," he said. "The whole timetable needs readjustment."
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