Postal Service Wants Control of .us Domain

The U.S. Postal Service wants the government to give it the exclusive use of top-level domain names ending in .us.

The Department of Commerce held a hearing on the issue on Tuesday. According to published reports, Eric Wimer, representing the USPS, told Commerce officials his agency should control the .us domain. Wimer said the agency already has regulations in place to protect consumer privacy and has established the appropriate administrative procedures.

A number of domains already end in .us. However, because they are complicated and hard to remember, they are generally used only by city agencies. Proponents hope that allowing companies to use the domain will spur interest since the .com space is becoming increasingly crowded.

The USPS has been working to get control of the .us domain for about a year. Senior government officials in the White House began embracing the idea in mid-1998.

Although the domain system is in the process of being privitized, the .us domain is still overseen by the government. Last October, the USPS proposed to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that it be allowed to “coordinate the administration of the .us” top-level domain. Although few details of the plan have been released, alternatives will likely include linking .us e-mail addresses to postal addresses.

The Domain Name Rights Coalition has proposed the Federal Communications Commission oversee the domain.

Becky Burr, the NTIA’s associate administrator, said more talks on what will happen with the .us domain will occur next month. She said once a consensus has been formed, a plan for the domain will move forward.

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