US Report: White House releases Net name plan

The Clinton administration released its final plan to overhaul the Internet's naming system on Friday, but scrapped earlier plans to quickly add more names to the system.

The eagerly awaited final plan, overseen by senior Clinton adviser Ira Magaziner, seeks to resolve the controversy over management of some of the Internet's most basic functions, including the assignment and registration of names for World Wide Web sites.

The administration still plans to phase out government involvement in the naming system by September 30, 2000, as an initial draft of the report released in January suggested. But specific proposals to extend the system or dictate how it should function in the future have been scaled back.

Under the current system, Network Solutions manages the naming system in the Internet's popular generic domains ".com", ".org" and ".net" under an exclusive government contract that expires in September. The so-called top-level domains are the two- or three-letter suffixes at the end of every address on the Internet, as in the ".gov" at the end of "".

Plans to create immediate competition to Network Solutions were dropped, but the government said it is continuing to negotiate with the company to assure a level playing field for potential future competitors.

The plan leaves all decisions about expanding the system up to a new U.S.-based non-profit group headed by 15 people selected from private-sector, Internet and consumer groups.

The debate over the Internet's name and address system has been raging for several years since one of the fathers of the Net, Jon Postel, announced his own plan to add more addresses.

Postel's plan led to a cascade of revised plans, highlighting the sometimes murky and ambiguous system for making major changes to the vast network that arose informally