ICANN To Announce Five Domain Competitors Wednesday

The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers Wednesday will announce the five companies that will participate in a test of the new competitive Shared Registry System for .com, .net and .org domains.

The announcement is scheduled for 10 a.m. Eastern in Washington, D.C.

While word of the announcement clearly sends a signal that the process of opening domain registrations to competition is progressing, there’s still much work to be done. The Department of Commerce was still negotiating with Network Solutions, which currently has a monopoly on those domains, to determine the procedure for opening Network Solutions’ domain database to competitors.

Key issues that are still unanswered include how much competitors will have to pay to become domain registrars. According to published reports, Network Solutions is asking for the companies to pay $10,000 up front to help fund development expenses for new software that will run the new shared domain registration system.

If those issues aren’t worked out, ICANN’s plan to open the domain registry to competitors by the end of April could be delayed. That in turn would delay plans to have international domain competition by June.

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