RealTime IT News

Melbourne IT Divorces Itself from Telstra's DNS Operations

Melbourne IT and its domain name registry subsidiary Internet Names Worldwide (INWW) has cut ties with the registering service for the Australian country domain space operated by Telstra.

Calling the involvement a "significant risk factor", INWW issued a statement on Christmas Eve to ISPs and other domain name buyers in the com.au and other domains saying it would "decouple" its operations from the Australian Network Information Centre (AUNIC). INWW will set up its own system called DNIC, at a cost estimated by the company to be AUS$80,000 (US$52,500).

AUNIC's server hosts the domain name databases for domains under the .au country code top level domain, and also hosts scripts used to register and edit domain name records. The centre has been coordinated from its inception by Geoff Huston, one of the pioneers of the Internet in Australia.

Huston is general manager of Telstra Internet. Telstra has been operating the AUNIC server at its own cost for many years, and Huston has devoted countless unpaid hours of work to this and other operational systems which keep the Internet running in Australia.

According to documents on the AUNIC site, a changeover of the AUNIC databases and scripts to a new server has been gradually taking place since November 1998. The document on the AUNIC site says that the alterations "will most likely be simple name changes (ie. the URL and script name) but may also entail changes in behaviour of the actual scripts."

"Ongoing outages and lack of necessary resources at AUNIC have obliged INWW to assume responsibility for the administration of the .com.au domain registrations database in order to ensure uninterrupted service supply," INWW said in its statement. "The migration of domain name registration administration from AUNIC has been a feature of the increasing professionalisation of service supply.

"The registration systems for the .net.au and .asn.au domain spaces have already been decoupled from AUNIC. The migration of .com.au will bring it into line with the .net.au and .asn.au systems."

Relations between Huston and Melbourne IT/INWW have not been without incident. In particular, Huston has been vocal in his comments about the process leading to the creation of au Domain Administration (auDA), a not-for-profit industry body which has taken over the administration of au domain names with the specific intention of introducing competition for INWW in the domain name registrar business. According to the INWW statement, the board of auDA endorsed its decision at a meeting on December 6 last year.

"It appears from an initial reading of this announcement that auDA's stated objective of introducing supply-side competition into the com.au registration service could be more challenging to achieve as a consequence of such a move," Huston said to australia.internet.com. "From such a perspective I would expect auDA to be carefully considering the situation."