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July 8, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:35pm


By CBR Staff Writer

The deeper you look into last week’s initial public offering filing by Network Solutions Inc, the more shaky a prospect it looks. The filing revealed that the company with the monopoly for registering the .com, .net, .edu, .gov and .org top-level domain names (TLDs) is also facing an antitrust investigation by the Justice Department. The government only started the probe on June 27, and it seems to us like a case of shutting the stable door long after the horse has bolted, because it was a federal agency, the National Science Foundation (NSF) that gave the Herndon, Virginia company its monopoly status back in 1993. The NSF awarded NSI the exclusive contract for those five TLDs, in a five-year contract that ends next March. NSF has said it will not renew the contract with NSI or award a similar contract to any other company. There have been numerous complaints against NSI, and in particular about its domain name dispute resolution policy. And on March 20, according to the filing, New York-based PG Media Inc filed a lawsuit against NSI for restricting access to the internet. No schedule has been set for the case yet. The company has also received direction from the NSF not to add any further TLDs to internet root servers until it gets direction to do from the NSF. NSI manages one of the eight operational root servers in the US – there are two more in Europe. Volunteers maintain the others, and each server is dependent on the other to ensure all the TLDs on the internet are available at any time. There are various plans afoot within the internet community to expand both the number of registrars plus the number of TLDs available, but the situation is in a state of flux at the moment. But apart from that, NSI’s plan to raise $35m seems like a sure- fire bet. NSI cannot say anything at the moment because it is the quite period that follows a filing.

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