IAHC moves along project for domain names

The Internet Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) has moved along its plan to extend the Internet domain naming system and gathered initial signatures for a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on a structure for registering Internet names.

The Internet Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) has moved along its plan to extend the Internet domain naming system and gathered initial signatures for a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on a structure for registering Internet names.

The MoU covers the creation of 28 independent naming registrars, who will be responsible for assigning the seven top level generic domain names designated by the IAHC in February.

The seven new generic top level domain names - .firm, .store, .web, .arts, .rec, .info, and .nom - have been added by IAHC to the three existing generic top level domain names (gTLDs) - .org, .com and .net.

The three gTLDs are currently registered exclusively by US-based Network Solutions Inc., which was awarded the right to do so by the US National Science Foundation. Once the agreement between the Network Solutions and the National Science Foundation comes to an end, IAHC intends to add the gTLDs .com, .org and .net to its list.

The IAHC has gathered initial signatures to its MoU from groups including the Internet Society, The International Telecommunications Union and The International Trademark Association. Further organisations will add their signatures at a meeting in Geneva from April 29 to May 1, according to information on the IAHC Website.

Arthur Andersen & Co. will oversee applications from companies wishing to become a registrar as well as the selection process. Registrars will be able to work together and iron out differences through a Council of Registrars (CORE). Core will also be responsible for running a shared database repository.

Although IAHC has rounded up heavyweights to back its proposal to update the Internet domain system, such as the International Telecommunications Union and the World Intellectual Property Organisation, its plans have not gone unchallenged. There is even talk of a recommendation that the US government terminate its agreement with Network Solutions Inc. and begin doling out Internet domain names.

And although the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is not presenting itself as a threat to IAHC's plan, the 29-member countries of the OECD will meet tomorrow to discuss an OECD paper that touches on issues such as domain name registration fees, according to an OECD official.

The official declined to give details of the report, which will be published once it has been reviewed by member governments at the OECD Website www.oecd.org/.

The IAHC can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.iahc.org/.

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