DNS: COM.AU DNA's Progress Report after Week 2

DNS: COM.AU DNA's Progress Report after Week 2

From: Peter Gerrand <ceo§MelbourneIT.com.au>
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 1996 20:14:12 +1000
Subject: COM.AU DNA Progress Report after Week 2

I am pleased to provide an interim progress report for Melbourne ITās
first two weeks of commercial operation (1 to 15 November 1996) of its
COM.AU DNA (Domain Name Administration) bureau service - and to announce
some new initiatives. 


The major achievement of the COM.AU Bureau has been to clear all
back-logged applications- REPEAT: WE HAVE CLEARED ALL BACK-LOGGED 
COM.AU APPLICATIONS - received via the AUNIC register before Melbourne
IT began its fee-based commercial DNA service on 1 November.  

To clear this back-log of more than 2,400 requests, while simultaneously
developing the new Bureau software and accounting processes,  set up
contracts with Participating ISPs  and process new applications, has
required some Bureau staff to work seven day weeks for five weeks in a
row, and for other staff to work until midnight on some days, then come
in at 7 am next morning to start afresh.  Half of the teams' time has
been spent in answering e-mail and telephoned inquiries, the majority
being from frustrated customers with severely back-logged applications.

I wish to publicly thank the COM.AU DNA Bureau team - David Hopkins,
Drew Heath, Trevor Hales , Doug Osborn and  Jan Webster  - for their
tremendous efforts in clearing the backlog and getting the new
commercial processes in place.


Since 8 October, when Melbourne IT commenced its newly delegated role as
Domain Name Administrator for COM.AU, we have inherited more than 2, 400
back-logged applications for Domain Names (DNs), some queued for up to
26 weeks (though more typically six to twelve weeks) as a result of
totally over-loading the previous voluntary, part-time Administrator
(KRE).  Melbourne IT would like to express its appreciation for the
valuable advice and other assistance we have received from Robert Elz
during the hand-over  period.

Of the inherited back-logged applications and additional applications
received up until  31 October, we have processed all back-logged 
applications at no fee (other than those that chose to expedite their
request by paying a fee under the new commercial regime with service
performance guarantees).  The applications registered free are
registered until end of December, by which date they will need to renew
their registrations under the pricing regime.  

During the Reporting Period (1 - 15 November), 915   new applications
were received, of which 325 were received with payments. Of these, 91
new applications were processed to completion.  All paid applications
(100%) have been processed within their Service Performance Targets to
date.   The Bureau's webpages have been amended to draw greater
attention to the need to provide a payment in connection with a new
direct application, and the mechanisms for payment have been expanded
(see 5(3) below). 

 31 out of the 325 new applications failed to meet the Naming Rules or
business registration requirements detailed in the industry-endorsed
General Policy under which the COM.AU Bureau operates, and displayed on
our website.  In each case feedback was provided on the reasons for
failure.  The  first resubmission received within ten working days will
be processed at no additional fee. 


So far, eighteen ISPs and Internet Access Providers have signed
contracts with Melbourne IT as Participating ISPs, to whom Melbourne IT
provides benefits of a wholesale relationship achieved through economies
of scale.  The list of Participating ISPs (PISPs)  is now advertised on
our website, with hyperlinks to their own Websites.  (At the time of
issuing this report, not all are listed since we require explicit
approval from each PISP before advertising their name on our website.)

Any organisation is able to sign up as a Participating ISP, and thereby
enjoy higher through-put and discounts of generally $25 per transaction,
through enabling the Bureau to process applications without the need to
verify individual payments. 

During this two-week period, Melbourne IT staff responded to over 250
email enquiries,  300 telephone enquiries and 100 faxed enquiries.  


In response to suggestions from our customers, and after due
consideration, we have as of today 16 November 1996 made the following
policy decisions:

(1) All DELEGATION CHANGES by the COM.AU Bureau will be FREE.  (This
typically happens when users change ISPs, or when an ISP or an end user
reconfigures their servers.)  This rule applies to all COM.AU DNs that
are properly registered with the Bureau, and becomes part of the ongoing
service provided by the Bureau to holders of re-registered DNs in return
for their registration fees.  

(2) A FREE REGISTRATION PERIOD OF ONE YEAR for not-for-profit and
charitable associations inappropriately registered under COM.AU :  these
organisations, which are entitled to be registered under either ORG.AU
or (in the case of an association) with ASN.AU,  will be offered free
renewal of registration under COM.AU until1 November 1997,  to give them
ample time to arrange registration under a more appropriate Second Level

(3) Expanded Payment Options

The Bureau now offers direct payment to a nominated bank account as an
alternative to payments by credit cards (Visa, Bankcard, Master Card and
soon AMEX)  or by cheque.

Melbourne IT  is not prepared to relax its policy of demanding evidence
of credit or payment in advance of processing new DN applications, 
because by doing so - and thereby avoiding the management of bad debts -
it can keep the costs of the bureau service to a minimum.   However we
are now actively considering an option of invoicing for renewal of
existing allocated COM.AU Domain Names.  I hope to make a policy
announcement on this within a week.

(4) Standard DNA Services Provided to Holders of Registered DNs

In return for the registration fees received, Melbourne IT (as the
COM.AU DNA Bureau) will provide the following services during the period
of registration for accepted DNs:

I.   Manage, maintain and update the Primary Name Server for COM.AU DNs
II.  Provide free re-delegations as requested by the authorised
III. Carry out regular testing of the integrity of the COM.AU networked
name space;      specifically, for every registered COM.AU Domain Name 
      (a)  test if the delegated name server is functioning
      (b)  test if its SOA (Start of Authority) field is consistent with
the Primary            Name Server Zone Files.
      (c)  If (a) or (b) fail, notify the contact e-mail address
specified in the SOA. 

The purpose of this regular testing is to ensure that end-to-end
connectivity is sustained across the Internet to the registered and
delegated COM.AU DNs.


Many controversial policy issues have been raised on the
dns&#167;intiaa.asn.au and other mailing lists during the two week Reporting
Period.  Melbourne IT has been forced to give low priority to answering
the numerous (over 150) questions and comments received by email and
faxes on both policy issues and Melbourne IT's own role, in order to
carry out its prime task - the delivery of a much overdue
cost-effective, responsive, adequately resourced,  professional  bureau
service to the Australian business community.   

It is recommended that the DNS Industry Forum be reconvened in December
(or no later than January) to deal with many of the issues raised, and
that at least three weeks' notice be given to ensure that industry wide
participation is possible, including sending invitations to INTIAA,
AUUG, AIIA, ECA, ACCC, AUSTEL and  to the lists of known ISPs and IAPS
operating in Australia.

Professor Peter Gerrand
CEO, Melbourne IT
(Melbourne Information Technologies Australia Pty Ltd ACN 073 716 793)

Email: ceo&#167;MelbourneIT.com.au
Home page: http://www.MelbourneIT.com.au/
Received on Sat Nov 16 1996 - 20:47:00 UTC

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