Pitcairn Islanders reclaim their domain name bounty

The people of tiny Pitcairn Island have risen up and claimed their Internet domain name.

The people of tiny Pitcairn Island have risen up and claimed their Internet domain name.

In a decision announced last week, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), has re-delegated the .pn top level domain, which will now be administered by the Pitcairn Island Administration, based in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Pitcairn Island commissioner, Leon Salt, has asked Auckland's 2Day Internet to provide domain name service for the .pn domain.

ICANN's decision is based on a report from IANA (the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) and follows the presentation of a petition signed by the island's entire population - described in the IANA report as "approximately 50 descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives".

Moves to re-delegate .pn began shortly after its initial delegation in July 1997, in the name of Tom Christian (the great-great-great grandson of Fletcher Christian) as administrative contact and Channel Islands computer consultant Nigel Roberts as technical contact.

The domain has been used predominantly for registration of domain names to entities not affiliated with the territory, in exchange for a fee collected by Roberts' company, Orichalk.

Since then Roberts has resisted efforts by both the British government and the island's governing council to re-delegate the domain. But last October, Tom Christian announced that following discussions with island people and IT advisors, he now supported the domain being transferred.

A "compromise" proposal from Orichalk was considered by IANA, but it eventually recommended that the domain be re-delegated, noting that the new contacts for .pn have recognised their duty to operate the ccTLD for the benefit of the relevant community, and have put forward plans that would advance both the development of the Internet on Pitcairn and the interests of the Pitcairn community."

These plans include the implementation of reliable e-mail connectivity on the island, establishment of an official Website at a .pn address to provide information to prospective tourists, and the creation of a .gov.pn subdomain to support the activities of the Pitcairn Island Administration.

"The operation of the .pn domain by nonresident commercial interests in this case appears to have thwarted these plans and is interfering with introduction of the Internet to the Pitcairn Island community," IANA concluded.

2Day managing director Peter Mott, meanwhile, says his company is "very pleased to be able to provide the residents of Pitcairn

with a registry service for the .pn top level domain".

Mott says name service for existing domains under .pn has continued.

"Any changes to the structure of the .pn domain or its policy will be a matter for the administrative contact. I am sure they will balance the needs of existing registrants with the needs of the Pitcairn Island when making any decisions."

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