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RealTime IT News

Domain Deadline Extended for Second Time

The U.S. Department of Commerce has once again pushed back the deadline to open domain name registration competition. The latest move will end the test-bed phase on Aug. 6.

The extension is a setback to registrars who are ready to compete with Network Solutions which formerly held an exclusive government contract to register domain names ending in .com, .net and .edu.

In April, a "test bed" period was begun and a few competing registrars were given access to the domain registry system which will continue to be run by NSI. Once the test phase is over, the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers will accept applications from any company meeting the qualifications to become a domain registrar.

Network Solutions said the latest extension is necessary to integrate the five companies who now offer registration services into the shared registration system. Register.com, Melbourne IT, FranceTelecom/OLEANE, America Online Inc. and The Council of Internet Registrars have all been authorized to register names during the trial.

In early June, Register.com became the first to tie-up with the shared registry, followed by Melbourne IT. Last week, CORE completed the process, leaving AOL and France Telecom/OLEANE as the only certified registrars that have not started handling registrations.

A number of issues remain to be worked out, including how much NSI will be able to charge rivals for their management of the shared registration service.