Domain name tests extended again

The US Department of Commerce and domain name registrar Network Solutions Inc (NSI) have agreed to extend for a fourth time the testing phase of a new, competitive system for registering internet addresses, the DoC said in a statement today.

The test period, which was due to expire last Friday, has been extended until September 30. The extension should provide the DoC and NSI with enough time to resolve their differences over how the new system will operate, the DoC said.

NSI until recently was the sole company registering internet addresses ending in .com, .org and .net, under a contract originally awarded to it in 1993 by the US government. The DoC, along with the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), have been in intense discussions with NSI about terms under which the new competitive system will operate.

"NSI, ICANN, and the Department of Commerce have made great progress in resolving their differences, and the end of those discussions is in sight," Andrew Pincus, DoC general counsel, said in the statement. "This additional extension should allow us to bring them to conclusion."

Meanwhile, 10 registrars have begun offering competing domain name registration services, including companies from France, Australia and the US, the DoC statement said. Dozens more registrars have been approved to offer services once the test period is complete. The tests were originally due to have been completed June 25.

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