The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has released the names of the five companies that will take part in the initial test bed of the new competitive shared registry system for .com, .net and .org domains.
ICANN named America Online, The Internet Council of Registrars (CORE), France Telecom/Oleane, Melbourne IT and Register.com as the five registrars.
Besides the five testbed participants, ICANN also said 29 other companies have met its accreditation criteria and are expected to be named registrars once the testing is complete. 31 companies originally applied.
Currently registration services in the .com, .net and .org domains are provided by Network Solutions Incorporated (NSI) which has had an exclusive right to handle registrations under the 1993 Cooperative Agreement with the US government.
The competitive registrar testbed program will begin on 26 April and will last until 24 June. Following the conclusion of Phase I, the Shared Registry System for the .com, .net, and .org domains, will be opened on equal terms to all accredited registrars. This means any company that meets ICANN's standards for accreditation will be able to enter the market as a registrar and offer customers competitive domain name registration services in the .com, .net, and .org domains.
Network Solutions will continue to serve as a registrar until the test phase is complete. At that time, NSI will be required to meet the same guidelines as all other competitors.
"Today's announcement marks a major milestone in the joint efforts of the public and private sectors to bring Internet users the benefits of real competition in registration services in the most popular Internet domains - .com, .net, and .org," said Esther Dyson, ICANN's interim chairman. "The five testbed participants bring a wealth of technical capability, business experience and geographic reach to the testbed program.?
Testbed registrars paid a $2,500 application fee to ICANN. Once accredited, all registrars will pay a $5,000 annual accreditation fee and a one time fee of $10,000 to license software NSI has developed to register domains.
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