DNS: Re: AUSTRALIAN DNS FORUM - Sydney 4th April 1997

DNS: Re: AUSTRALIAN DNS FORUM - Sydney 4th April 1997

From: Peter Gerrand <ceo§MelbourneIT.com.au>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 19:16:52 +1000
In response to George Michaelson (19/3):

Dear George

I am pleased to say that I am an individual Member of ISOC-AU (which as
you know does not have corporate members), and that my company is an
Associate Member of INTIAA (which does not have personal memberships). I
am pleased with the directions and activities of both organisations, and
particularly with their close co-operation since January over DNS
policies. I am proud to be a member of both.

I must take issue with your using the term "the com.au debacle", by
drawing attention to how far the Internet industry has come since last
July, when the delays in getting com.au registrations were so severe as
to stimulate a front page story on the Australian Financial Review. That
surely was the period of the "debacle", as far as the customers were

When Melbourne IT took over the DNA role in October 1996, we inherited a
back-log of over 2,553 applications, some extending back to six months,
which had totally overloaded KRE as a part-time volunteer. At that stage
requests were arriving at the rate of 800 to 1000 per month (although
many of the requests were follow-ups from earlier lodged applications).

Please contrast the situation today and tell me if the current situation
is deserving of the term 'debacle'. 

Melbourne IT is currently handling a demand of between 2,500 and 3,000
new requests per month. All but 0.5% of requests received since we
started charging fees on November 1 have been processed within our
Service Assurance Guarantee periods of ten, three or one days
respectively. (Please note that the service assurance period commences
from when we receive the payment for the application, as stipulated in
our published policy.) Those 0.5% have all received their money back,
and still had their applications processed. Even Michael Mallone has
praised our performance in processing new requests, on more than one
occasion, and his company iiNet remains one of our active wholesale
Participating ISPs (PISPs). And please note also that our standard fees
remain cheaper than those of our obvious competitor DNAs - for net.au,
.com. .net and .nf.  This would seem to be a good result for the
Australian Internet industry. Hardly a debacle.

The Sturm und Drang on the mailing lists, and in particular the recent
and foolish Federal Court action, have been almost entirely concerned
with Melbourne IT's renewal policy for the 'historical' domain names we
inherited.  It would appear that the fee-for-service principle is still
not fully accepted by some of the smaller ISPs, when they are on the
paying side rather than the receiving side. And yet sanity has
prevailed. Discussions with Pauline van Winsen of ISOC-AU and Luke
Carruthers from INTIAA, commencing prior to and independent of the later
Federal Court action, led to the sensible compromise announced on 16
March. Some have argued with hindsight that these discussions should
have taken place earlier, but the democratic consultative processes of
ISOC-AU itself were probably the major source of delays - and not very
long delays at that - in what was a highly expedited process. 

I do not share your belief, although I respect it, that "DNS is best
left in the care and control of bodies such as ISOC/IANA as exemplified
by the IAHC process". As a national industry, it is in our interests to
aim to control our own destiny, and not leave it to overseas bodies. In
any case the reality is that the relevant sections of the
Telecommunications Bill 1996, about to be passed by the Federal
Parliament, are designed to encourage our industry to regulate itself on
matters of electronic naming and addressing - and stipulate that if we
fail, the ACCC and ACA will be (reluctantly) forced to step in and
enforce a solution of their own devising. 

The DNS Forum, initiated and convened by INTIAA and now receiving good
support from ISOC-AU,  is the worthy attempt of the two major national
Internet associations together with the current Australian DNAs, some of
the regional Internet associations, and other interested bodies and
individuals, to develop a fair and workable self-regulatory framework.
ADNA is important because it is the intended corporate vehicle to
provide such industry self-regulation, including the use of appropriate
public consultation processes, in the area of domain name policies and

Like Skeeve Stevens, I hope there will be a good turn-up on 4 April; but
the key agenda item must be to progress the ADNA concept.  Without
progress on ADNA, it will be a long time before you will see any
competitors to com.au enter the market. Surely that thought alone
provides enough incentive for some of the most vocal critics to
concentrate on the main agenda item!

And George I hope you can be there as well.

With good wishes
Received on Wed Mar 19 1997 - 19:38:04 UTC

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