DNS: Europen Commission Meeting with National TLD Registrars

DNS: Europen Commission Meeting with National TLD Registrars

From: Michael Malone <mmalone§creole.iinet.net.au>
Date: Sat, 12 Apr 1997 09:47:16 +0800
To: dns-wg&#167;ripe.net
Subject: Europen Commission Meeting with National TLD Registrars
Cc: RIPE Chair <chair&#167;ripe.net>, RIPE WG Chairpeople <wg-chairs§ripe.net>,
        tld-admin&#167;ripe.net, Christopher.WILKINSON§bxl.dg13.cec.be
Cc: Marcel Schneider <schneider&#167;switch.ch>,
        Stefano Trumpy <S.Trumpy&#167;cnuce.cnr.it>
From: Daniel Karrenberg <Daniel.Karrenberg&#167;ripe.net>
X-Organization: RIPE NCC
X-Phone: +31 20 592 5065
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 14:24:00 +0200
Sender: Daniel.Karrenberg&#167;ripe.net

Europen Commission Meeting with National TLD Registrars

Brussels, April 9th 1997

Chair: Christopher Wilkinson, DG 13

As announced on the DNS WG list I attended this meeting on behalf 
of RIPE at the request of Rob who had prior commitments.

The following is a subjective and selective summary of the meeting
focussing on issues relevant for RIPE and the TLD administrators.  It
has not een checked with any of those represented and any
misrepresentations are my responsibility. 

Purpose of the meeting as stated by the commision was to collect
information about European DNS administration structures and to gather
input from TLD registrars about recent developments as well as the
commission's reactions to them. 

A numer of relevant documetns were circulated, most notably an issue
paper used to raise this issue with the council of ministers (telecomms
cttee) and a letter from the commission to the government of the United
States.  I try to make these available as soon as practical. 

The commission's stated interest is to follow DNS issues as they are
becoming more political with the increasing importance of the Internet
and to instigate the member countries to do the same.  The commission is
also taking steps on the intergovernmental level to raise the issue of
European representation in the relevant processes.  The commission
states that they presently have no intention to directly interfere with
the administration of the DNS in Europe nor to advise the governments of
member states to do so. 

A total of eight TLD administrators was directly represented: BE DE FI
FR IE IT LU UK. CH and NL were represented by informal proxy via RIPE. 
The European telecommunications operators association (ETNA ?) were also
present.  The commission participated with representatives from DG1,
DG3, DG12, DG13 and DG15. 
(Eurocrats please forgive me the arabic numbers ;-). 

Currently the DNS is subject to deliberations of the commission, the EU
council of ministerrs as well as many international treaty organisations
such as ITU, WIPO and OECD. 

The TLD registrars were unanimous in the opinion that the DNS in Europe
is functioning well.  National TLDs work, they are accessible, fairly
administered and registration is doen on a not-for-profit basis.
Conflict resoloution also works on the national level. 
There was also agreement that the process to decide on the creation of
additional gTLDs via the IAHC is flawed for several reasons including
but not limited to the excessive speed with which it was conducted and
the general preoccupation to solve unstated North American prolems.  The
process and its results would greatly benefit from more careful
consultation with European stakeholders which would result in the
necessary level of acceptance of the conclusions.  There were some
concerns that the structures produced by the flawed process would
eventually become effective also for the administration of national
TLDs.  None of the represented organisation had the intention to sign
the MoU resulting from the IAHC process neither were they considering to
become a registrar for one of the new gTLDs. 

All TLD registrars present also stated explicitly that currently RIPE is
considered an appropriate forum for a process of forming and formulating
common positions of the TLD administrators as well as general
coordination.  Privately some of them expressed concern about the lack
of concrete activity in this area. 

Christopher Wilkonson suggested that a small group be formed from those
present and charged to develop a common positions in an open and
transparent process.  Due to lack of time no conclusion was reached
about this.  Further e-mail discussion on this topic was agreed on a
list t.b.a..  If progress warrants it a meeting concurrent with the
Dublin RIPE meeting is being considered. 

Wilkinson also asked for all those who have indeed made comments to IAHC
to provide him with copies to be used in the commissions discussions
with the US government. 

Wilkinson also expressed that the commission was interested to talk to
the European ISPs on these issues and requested input on suitable
organisations to approach.  The conclusion was that while a number of
national organisations exist representing ISPs, there currently is no
such animal on a European level.  I reported that RIPE had considered
this issue and so far consciously decided not to move towards becoming a
representative or lobbying body for the European ISP industry. 

Further short items of interest:

Some of those present felt more stakeholders than just the classic ISPs
should be encouraged to take an active part in TLD administration. 
Mentioned were consumers groups, web hosting organisations and
specialised name registration companies.  The latter were observed to
generate an increasingly significant part of registration requests f.i. 
in the UK. 

Appropriate legal structures for national TLD administration seem to be
a recurring problem and much energy is spent on finding cq.  defining

A DG13 representative felt that it was necessary and inevitable to
convert the monopolistic registration structures in national TLDs into
oligopolies with market forces having free play.  Some of those present
questioned the generalised and immediate necessity for this given the
existance of accepted and fair mechanisms that currently work.  Others
questioned whether such structures would actually work given that there
is little space for different registration services to distinguish
themselves from others and consequently a danger of only a single one or
a very small number surviving after a very short time. 

A DG15 representative noted that WIPO has a one week meeting scheduled
at the end of May to collect opinions form governments and NGOs about
their proposals to start registrations in TM.INT as well the use of
their arbitration service to resolve DNS disputes.  RIPE has received an
invitation to that meeting but currently does not intend to go to an
informal meeting lasting for a whole week. 

DE-NIC is in the final stages to reorganise themselves as a cooperative
wich is much more open to participation than the current structure. 

NOMINET (UK TLD admin) have had good experiences when releasing
restrictions on the number and kind of names that can be registrered as
much as possible.  While the number of registrations has increased to
4000+/month customers are much happier and tend to consider registering
in gTLDs muc less frequently. 

The FI TLD administration is slated to move from EUnet FI to the Finnish
Telecom Administration (a governmental body) in May/June.  It was not
clear to me by which process this was decided nor if there is consensus
about this in FI. 

A DG13 representative reported that OECD (telecomms cttee ???) was
currently considering a statement about DNS administration.  Apparently
they have a draft document which includes quite some detail about the
current state of affairs.  Unfortunately the document is not publicly
available at this time and even somewhat shrouded in secrecy.  Also the
relevance of OECD in this context remained unclear to me.  Does anyone
know more? 


For RIPE an important conclusion of this is that we are being looked at
as a forum to form common opinions among the ISPs and TLD admins.  Other
European bodies are very much prepared to listen to the results.  There
is some concern that RIPE has not clearly stepped up this task.  RIPE
has to decide quickly whether it wants to take action in this area and
which steps if any it will take.  If we decide not to get involved we
should also state so quickly in order to avoid blocking progress and
being damaged by not fulfilling expectations. 

That's all folks.  I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Received on Sat Apr 12 1997 - 12:14:50 UTC

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