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September 28, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 6:59pm

FEDS TAKE CHARGE OF DNS; NSI CONTRACT EXTENSION SEEN LIKELY

By CBR Staff Writer

The plan to introduce another seven generic top-level domain names and introduce competition into the business of registering the names look like being pushed aside in favor of a government plan for opening the process up to competition. The US government is on the verge of releasing a plan for privatizing the whole process, leaving all the internet old guard that proposed the plans out in the cold. At a hearing on domain names at the House Science Committee on Basic Research late last week, Department of Commerce assistant secretary Larry Irving said the timetable for introducing a new system – before March 31 – was now impossible to meet. That’s good news for Network Solutions Inc (NSI), which has the exclusive contract to then complete with a six-month extension option on the part of the government, which awarded the contract five years ago. NSI upped the amount of its IPO Thursday, and go tit away successfully Friday. The news was good for a stratospheric hike in NSI’s shares on their first day of trading Friday, closing up 29.5% at $23.3125. The government is setting up a task force to work with the internet community that will lead to an international body to centralize internet governance. That’s much like the plan put forward by the Internet Ad-Hoc Committee (IAHC), which proposed the seven new names as well. But that doesn’t seem to have found favor in Washington DC because it doesn’t deal adequately with protection of trademarks and dispute resolution, when two companies are vying for the same, or very similar, name. Those were the main objections lodged in the public comments gathered in the Department’s notice of inquiry last month. The IAHC was part of a meeting held at the start of this month in Geneva that concentrated on that very area, but very little appears to have changed as a result of that meeting. The government is going to use the plan to get itself out of internet governance completely. The lawmakers on the committee agree that private competition is what is needed: We want to see private and competitive solutions, said Mississippi Republican Chip Pickering. IAHC members are probably wondering what when wrong. The plan did introduce competition in all domain name registration and also including an oversight committee to monitor the registrars.

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