Commerce and NSI extend registration tests

Commerce and NSI extend registration tests

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

The Commerce Department and Network Solutions Inc. have agreed to extend and expand the testing of the Shared Registration System, under which competing companies will register Internet domain names.

Commerce and NSI still are wrestling over ground rules for the Herndon, Va., company's surrender of its monopoly on registering .com, .org and .net domain names. NSI has agreed to let outsiders use its database of registered domain names, at least for the present.

The test period, originally scheduled to end in June and then extended into August, has been extended again to Sept. 10. Another 11 potential registrars have been added to the original five testing NSI's shared registration software.

Who's who in the test bed
Original participants:
  • America Online Inc., United States
  • Internet Council of Registrars, Switzerland
  • France Telecom, France
  • Melbourne IT, Australia
  •, United States

New participants:
  • A Technology Co. Inc.,
  • Abacus America Inc.,
    United States
  • Advanced Internet Technologies Inc.,
    United States
  • Domain Bank Inc., United
  • ENom Inc., United States
  • Internet Gateway Corp.,
  • InterQ Inc., Japan
  • Inc.,

    United States
  • Nominalia Internet S.L.,

  • Tech Dogs, United States
  • TierraNet Inc., United States

Commerce general counsel Andrew J. Pincus said the extra testing will provide important information about the Shared Registration System's operation. But he said significant issues remain unresolved between the department and NSI.

Brian O'Shaughnessy, an NSI spokesman, said, 'We are in the fourth quarter. Things are moving along.'

NSI has been the exclusive registrar of names for top-level Internet domains under an agreement with Commerce. It also runs the computerized registry of domains used to route Internet traffic.

In a plan to remove government Internet oversight and open domain registration to competition, Commerce last year formed the nonprofit Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, which accredited 52 companies as prospective registrars to gain an interface to NSI's registry.

Still under debate, O'Shaughnessy said, are the rules by which NSI will operate after its agreement with Commerce expires next year, ICANN's relationship with the registrars, including NSI, and the price other registrars will pay to use NSI's software.

In control

Access to the whois database of domain names controlled by NSI became an issue when the company announced plans to release the .com Directory, a listing of uniform resource locators for companies it has registered.

NSI claimed the data as a proprietary customer list that could be used for competitive advantage, but Commerce claimed it was created under government agreement and was public property.

A Commerce statement said, 'NSI has agreed to remove restrictions on the use of whois data for third-party development ' pending resolution of all outstanding issues.'

O'Shaughnessy said NSI is doing final data scrubbing of the .com Directory and will release it soon.


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