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 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 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 and domain spaces have already been decoupled from AUNIC.
The migration of will bring it into line with the and 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 registration service could be more challenging
to achieve as a consequence of such a move,” Huston said to “From such a perspective I would
expect auDA to be carefully considering the situation.”

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