Domain Name Deadline Delayed for Third Time

After already being pushed back twice before, the Aug. 6 deadline came and went for Network Solutions, Inc. to end testing and open domain name registration competition.

The company announced late Friday it is extending the deadline, for the third time, to Sept. 10.

NSI currently holds a monopoly on domain name registration, which will end in September 2000. It is working with the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers and the Department of Commerce to open the registration to other companies worldwide.

Testing of NSI’s Shared Registry System began in April with five registrars, who have all completed the testbed phase and are ready to begin registering domain names “.com,” “.net” and “.org.” More have since begun testing. NSI said it extended the deadline to add more registrars to the testbed phase, as well as continue negotiating with ICANN and the DoC.

“We have been engaged in productive negotiation with the DoC and ICANN. We are now making progress toward finding solutions to the outstanding issues,” said Jim Rutt, Network Solutions’ CEO. “There are
significant issues yet to be resolved, but we are optimistic that working together, Network Solutions, DoC and ICANN will all get the job done.”

As part of its negotiations, NSI Friday conceded to allow registrars access to its WHOIS database, containing information of where a domain name is registered. The DoC had opposed Network Solutions’ plan to offer the Yellow Pages-like service while prohibiting other registrars access.

There are still a few unresolved issues, though, including NSI’s refusal to go through the same accreditation review required of new registrars. Criticizing NSI’s delays, in June ICANN Chariman Ester Dyson penned a letter accusing NSI of stalling the domain name transition. NSI also has openly criticized ICANN’s operations and procedures.

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