New top level domains get closer

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers moves to bring .name, .pro and others closer to fruition

The new Internet top level domains came a step closer to reality on Tuesday when the Icann board authorised the president and general counsel to complete the negotiation of the remaining appendices to the agreements for the unsponsored top level domains .name, .pro, .biz and .info.

The agreements provide a one-year ramp-up period, a five-year base term, and a possible one-year extension. They also include "true up" clauses that would make an appropriate financial adjustment in the event of a change of registry operator, to cover overhanging registrations, late-term investments, and so on.

Some board members felt the agreements could be improved, particularly in regard to separation of registry and registrar, but the perceived need for prompt action overrode these concerns.

A written statement from Afilias, the consortium chosen to run the .info domain, welcomed the board's resolution.

"The implementation of its registry will commence with a registration period for trademark holders only as early as the second quarter of 2001. Open registration for the public-at-large is expected to commence approximately 45 days later."

RegistryPro, which plans to launch the .pro domain (initially for medical practitioners, lawyers and accountants) by the third quarter, also welcomed the progress made.

"We're extremely pleased that the Icann board has publicly shown their commitment to expediting the registry contract process, and we believe it validates our position that expansion of the Internet naming system is critical," said interim chief executive Sloan Gaon.

"Today's decision has moved RegistryPro, as well as the other registries, further along the path to bringing more choice and more competitive product offerings into the domain industry.

Icann has concentrated its efforts to get the unsponsored TLDs up and running as quickly as possible, and this decision should mean more progress will soon be made on the sponsored TLDs .areo, .coop and .museum.

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