Late yesterday, the US government and Network Solutions Inc (NSI) reached an agreement whereby NSI will remain the exclusive registry for .com, .net and .org – the wholesale side of its business – but will have to open the registrar, or retail side of things to open competition by June 1 next year. The deal extends the registry part of the co-operative agreement that ended September 30 through to September 30 2000. But starting March 31 next year NSI will have to begin bringing online a shared registry system to support multiple registrars offering registrations in the .comn.net and .org name spaces. The company has agreed to charge a set dollar-per-registration amount that is yet to be decided by the two sides, but will reflect its costs and a reasonable return in its investment, according to the company. Once the non-profit corporation that will take over the administration of the domain name system, it will negotiate a contractual relationship with NSI for its registry services. NSI also has to give the government a copy of all the software and data it has generated since becoming the registry in 1993. In addition, NSI will continue to administer the main root server, from which the information about .com, .net and .org registrations among others, is propagated, and the root zone file itself, as the information is known until the US government instructs NSI to transfer either or both of these functions to the non-profit corporation or a specific alternate entity, says the company.