SENATOR THE HON RICHARD ALSTON

Minister for Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate



Mr Larry Irving
Assistant Secretary of Commerce
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
14O1 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230

Dear Larry

Sorry that we were unable to talk by telephone - hopefully we will be able to catch up in Singapore in June. In the meantime, I thought it would be useul to write to you regarding the Australian Government's response to the Green Paper issued by your Department, A Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses.

While the Australian Government applauds the approach of the United States Government in seeking to disengage from governance of domain names, and other aspects of Internet technical administration, we believe that the benefits of moving to a fully self-regulatory model could be improved, if changes were made to your strategic approach in a number of key areas.

In particular the Australian Government is keen to ensure that a not-for-profit, self-regulatory body, established to provide governance over appropriate domain name matters, is truly representative of the broad range of Internet stake holders world-wide, and is structured in a way that enables appropriate responsiveness and accountability to stake holders in the many countries that use the generic top level domain system.

We are also not certain that the Green Paper strikes an appropriate balance between enhancing competition in domain name services, and identifying functions which would more appropriately be managed on a not-for-profit basis in the public trust.

The National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE),- within my portfolio, conducted a consultative forum on Monday 30 March 1998 to consider a response to the Green Paper. This meeting was well attended by a broad cross-section of Australian Internet stake holders, representing the Internet industry, domain name administrators, business and industry associations, user groups, government bodies and academics. The forum achieved a high level of consensus in regard to key issues of concern, and its outcomes will contribute strongly to the Australian Government's response.

I am advised that officials of the National Office have discussed the Australian response with your officer, Ms Burr, who indicated that the views of the Australian Government on this matter would be welcome outside the original deadline of 23 March 1998. It was agreed that a response would be provided by mid-April.

I look forward to a continuing constructive dialogue between our countries on this important issue.

Yours sincerely

RICHARD ALSTON
Minister for Communications,
the Information Economy and the Arts