Re: [DNS] .au space proposal

Re: [DNS] .au space proposal

From: Ian Johnston <ian.johnston§>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 08:56:14 +1100
Adrian Chadd wrote in <dns&#167;> Wednesday, November 22, 2000 9:57 PM

> On Wed, Nov 22, 2000, Kim Davies wrote:
> >
> > I believe the problem is not so much that they would be used as gateway
> > directories - indeed I think the main concern would be them being used
> > for the opposite.
> >
> > To make an example, could be used as a directory
> > of the travel services industry, or it could be a travel company.
> >
> > Is there a viable way to identify if a generic is going to be used in
> > public interest or not?
> I'm also curious about enforcing interoperability between whoever
> runs say, the geographic DNS names.
> How will they be allocated?

The Panel considered a number of methods of allocation of generic and
geographic domain name licences having regard to the rationale for
sustaining the existing policy of prohibition.

Alternative methods of allocation are outlined in the Panel's Report - see
"Issue 4.2.2: Licensing of generic and geographic domain names",  under
"Names with Fences: Restricted names" at

The Panel noted that the following methods of allocation might be used. In
the light of public responses, the Panel may move further forward with
Proposal 4.2.2, and a paper will be developed on these matters.

- First come, first served: generic/geographic domain names are licensed to
applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.

- Lotteries: lotteries are a competitively neutral and non-discriminatory
method of allocating domain names licences, and involve applying a chance
generator to determine the allocation of a domain name licence.

- Tenders: two kinds of tenders may be used to allocate generic and
geographic domain name licences - highest bid tenders, and 'beauty
contests'; in the latter, the monetary bid is only one of the factors
considered in assessing the tender.

- Auctions: auctions would involve competitive price bidding for generic and
geographic names.

> What will stop a large company or group of companies monopolising them?
> How will the hyperlinking between these sites work if they're controlled
by different companies?

ACCC powers, competition from resellers of namespace, rights of access
included in special licences, etc.  Details to be worked out in a study
scoping the opportunity imo.  (Similar arrangements developed around
telecommunciations industry over last decade.)

> You are assuming that enough zones exist to cover people's choices.
> Well, I'll counter that the DNS will become a highly complex web
> if you want to use it effectively as a directory. Sure, you'll make
> money, but trying to administer something that complex and keep
> everything consistent will be ..well, an interesting challenge.
> Certainly more challenging than running a straight DNS registry.

Fair point.

The key  issue as I see it is how do we relax the current policy of
prohibition of geographic and generic name licences in the domain,
in a fair and equitable manner considering the view that geographic and
generic names are gateways to e-commerce and public assets (hence we give
licences) to be managed in the public interest.

In this regard the Second Reading Speech to the Telecommunications
Legislation Amendment Bill 2000 is relevant imo - see ENDNOTE below.

*** I'm offline for most of the day, so I can't contribute to any debate
till late pm ***

Ian Johnston
Member of the Name Policy Advisory Panel
Member of the Competition Model Advisory Panel

Ian Johnston, Policy Consultant
Small Enterprise Telecommunications Centre Limited (SETEL)
PO Box 58   Jamison   ACT   2614   Australia
02 6253 0869 (B)   02 6251 7835 (F)   0413 990 112 (M)   mailto:ian.johnston&#167;

SETEL is a national association advancing and representing
the interests of Australian small businesses as consumers of
telecommunications and electronic commerce.


Second Reading Speech to the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Bill
(accessible from the link "Current Bills (by Title)" at
<> (Accessed 23 November 2000)

The speech read as follows-

This bill reinforces the Government's powers to safeguard the public
interest in the management of electronic addressing services, such as
Internet domain names.

Electronic addressing services have become a crucial element of national
infrastructure. The registration of a domain name is now a gateway to
e-commerce for many Australian businesses, and crucial to the branding of an
online presence.

As these services are a public asset, it is important that they are managed
in the public interest. The absence of an appropriate competitive
environ-ment, adequate consumer safeguards, or technical competence and
efficiency could have negative flow-on effects for the development of the
infor-mation economy in Australia.

For this reason, the Government has developed this bill to clarify the
powers of the Australian Communications Authority (the ACA) and the
Australian Competition and Consumer Commis-sion (the ACCC) in relation to
electronic add-ressing services.

The bill has two elements: firstly, a clarification of existing provisions
in the Telecommunications Act 1997 for the ACA to declare a "manager of
electronic addressing", and for the ACA and the ACCC to subsequently give
directions to that manager; and secondly, a new mechanism in the Australian
Communications Authority Act 1997 for the ACA to undertake the management of
electronic addressing services, on the instruction of the Minister for
Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.

Under the first measure, the ACA could determine that the service is being
managed in an unsatisfactory manner, or the ACCC could determine that a
manager of an electronic addressing service is not promoting adequate levels
of competition or consumer protection. In either case, the ACA would be able
to declare this manager under section 474 of the Telecommunic-ations Act
1997, and either the ACA or the ACCC could then issue legally binding
directions to rectify these problems.

Under the second measure, the Minister will be able to instruct the ACA to
assume direct respon-sibility for electronic addressing services, including
domain names. The amendments will allow the ACA to recover its costs of
managing the service. This mechanism will serve as a safety net, for use in
the event that a self-regulatory body at some time in the future proves
incapable of managing an electronic addressing service in the public

While the Government continues to promote responsible self-regulatory
management struc-tures for electronic addressing services in Australia, it
is important that these clear backstop provisions are in place in case
serious problems arise.
Received on Thu Nov 23 2000 - 06:03:27 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Sat Sep 09 2017 - 22:00:04 UTC