In a move which seems to have come as a surprise to some of its own councillors, the Internet Society of New Zealand has announced a name change and the formation of a new foundation to hand out money.
In a press release issued yesterday, the society announced its plans to call itself Internet New Zealand - and to establish the New Zealand Internet Foundation.
"The Foundation will be responsible for advancing the aims of Internet NZ by providing grants towards activities leading to enhanced access to, and use of, the Internet in New Zealand," according to the release.
Internet NZ chairman, Jim Higgins said initial funding would come from the surplus generated from management of the .nz domain name space. He said the society's monopoly registration business, Domainz, whose board he also chairs, recently projected a surplus of more than $1.5 million annually.
The new plan is likely to generate considerable controversy, given that when Isocnz took over management of the New Zealand Domain Name System in 1996, it clearly stated it would be non-profit and would only generate extra money to maintain the DNS.
Higgins said funding from the foundation will be "available to individuals and community groups in the form of scholarships, activity and research grants."
He said he composition of the Foundation and its constitution have still to be determined but he expected it to begin operations in the coming year.
Higgins said the Internet Foundation would operate independently of both Domainz and Internet NZ. Although it would be initially established with funding derived from operation of the .nz registry, it was hoped that other groups would also be interested in contributing to the work of the Foundation.