DNS: IAHC Press Release

DNS: IAHC Press Release

From: Geoff Huston <gih§telstra.net>
Date: Tue, 08 Apr 1997 23:21:05 +1000

             WASHINGTON, DC, April 8 -- Internet governance has
taken a major step forward, with the authorizing signatures applied
to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which enhances administration
and management of the Internet's domain name system.

             The document is part of a plan developed by the
International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC), a group of Internet experts
formed to consider issues brought on by the rapid growth of the
Internet, that calls for the creation of additional top level names
and the formation of a structure to allow competing companies to
register Internet names.

             Initial signers of the documents establishing the new
system are the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the
Internet Society (ISOC), the World Intellectual Property Organization
(WIPO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the
International Trademark Association (INTA).  They will be joined by
representatives from industry, government, and other organizations
who have indicated their intent to sign and participate.

             Three major corporations, Digital Equipment Corporation,
MCI, and UUNET are among the early endorsers of the plan.

             According to Heidi Heiden, a senior executive with
UUNET, "We are endorsing the IAHC plan because it successfully
addresses key issues and concerns and was created by responsible
parties with strong credentials.  It is of utmost importance to
us to see the Internet evolve as a stable and secure network that
continues to expand without being fragmented."

             Vint Cerf, Senior VP of MCI said, "As valuable as the
work done by the IAHC in resolving name space issues is, of more
importance to the MCI endorsement is the maturity and stability
the Memorandum of Understanding brings to the administration and
future self-governance of the Internet." 

             In indicating its support, Digital Equipment
Corporation's Vice President and Chief Scientist, Sam Fuller said,
"As the Internet becomes important to mainstream commerce, it needs
an open, responsible, and scaleable process for distributing domain
names.  DIGITAL intends to work with the IAHC to help advance this
policy framework to achieve such a naming service."  

             Representatives from organizations covering a broad
range of Internet interests and activities will gather in Geneva,
April 29 - May 1, to add their signatures to the Memorandum of
Understanding.  Using principles of self-governance, the MoU
sets up a structure and establishes policies and procedures, for
responsible administration of the "generic" portion of Internet
domain name space, according to Donald M. Heath, chair of the IAHC. 

             Dr. Pekka Tarjanne, Secretary-General of the ITU, said,
"The Internet demonstrates what can be done through innovation and
self-regulation. I welcome the IAHC's plans to phase in competition
within generic Top Level Domains while maintaining a necessary
stability in the Internet domain name space. This provides an
appropriate environment for the global business community enabling
electronic commerce to flourish. The ITU is extremely pleased to
play a facilitating role in these self-governance activities of the
Internet industry by acting as the depository of the MoU." 

             The plan calls for acceptance of applications from
entities desiring to become Registrars to begin seven days after
formal signing of the MoU, for a period of 60 days.  The firm of
Arthur Andersen will oversee the process of applications and
selection.  Up to 28 Registrars will be selected in the 30 days
following close of application acceptance.  Additional registrars may
be added, as the new structure develops and matures.  Coordination
of registrar activities will occur through the Council of Registrars

             In response to public comment, the IAHC has reduced
the two-tier financial resources requirements for applicants, holding
all applicants to the lower of the two tiers.  This reduces the
barrier to entry within competitive regions but still ensures
sufficient fiscal capabilities for organizations planning to supply
this essential service.

             The IAHC plan balances requirements for competition
among registrars, versus public oversight of registration activities.
Registrars will compete directly, covering the same range of domain
names.  To mediate their activities, the CORE will run a neutral,
shared database repository.  All daily activities will be handled by
the registrars themselves and by CORE.  Public interest concerns will
be covered by the Policy Oversight Committee, a small management team,
assisted by a much larger Policy Advisory Body, comprising signatories
to the Memorandum of Understanding.  This structure will ensure that
daily operations can be conducted efficiently, but policy concerns
will receive adequate and diverse review and input.

             Vint Cerf, who was the co-creator of the Internet's
core TCP/IP protocols, further stated, "The Internet is growing up
rapidly and it is vital that the processes, procedures, and policies
that define its administration be sound, stable and sustainable in an 
international setting.  With this foundation, the Internet can become
a solid communications platform in all sectors of commerce."

             Heath, who is also President and CEO of the Internet
Society (ISOC), said, "We believe we have created a model for
Internet self-governance that may be used for other issues that
confront Internet evolution, such as privacy, content, and censorship.
Responsible self-governance is a key factor in assuring that the
Internet will reach its fullest potential."
             Seven new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) will be
created under the IAHC plan in addition to the selection of new
Registrars.  There are currently three gTLDs: .com, .net, and
.org, and one registrar for those names, Network Solutions, Inc.
(NSI).  NSI is operating under a cooperative agreement between
NSI and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

             The IAHC plan proposes the addition of: .firm, .store,
.web, .arts, .rec, .info, and .nom and each of the new Registrars
will share the central repository database under any new gTLDs.
Once the cooperative agreement between NSI and NSF concludes, the
three existing gTLDs will be added to the shared pool.

             Heath pointed out that, "With the establishment of
shared registries, we have avoided monopolistic possibilities and
have created a truly competitive environment."  He continued, "If
someone registering a name through one of the new Registrars is
displeased with the service, they have the option of using other

             In addition to names and Registrars, the IAHC plan
addresses issues of intellectual property and creates several
innovative administrative processes to resolve conflicts which
may arise when a second-level domain name is registered under
a gTLD.  In the future, it will be very difficult to hoard or
warehouse names for resale.

             Taking advantage of the Internet itself, and in
cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization
(WIPO), the plan establishes on-line procedures for arbitration
and mediation as well as a proactive method to challenge the
registration of strong trademarks by someone other than the

             It is anticipated that registrations under the IAHC
plan would begin in third quarter 1997.  There is no provision 
for name reservation or "pre-registration" prior to the time
when the new registries are functional according to Heath.  "We
are aware of several solicitations to register second-level names
under the new TLDs and want to make it clear that those activities
are not sanctioned by the IAHC, or any of its sponsoring
organizations," he added.

             The International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) was
established in October of last year to satisfy the requirement for
enhancements to the Internet's global Domain Name System (DNS).
Organizations naming members to the committee included: Internet
Society (ISOC), Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), Internet
Architecture Board (IAB), Federal Networking Council (FNC),
International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International
Trademark Association (INTA), and World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO).  The full text of the IAHC report, the
associated MoU, and legal documents are published at the IAHC
Internet site: http://www.iahc.org.

                        # # # # # # # #

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Received on Wed Apr 09 1997 - 00:18:02 UTC

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