National Telecommunications and Information Administration
• Asst. Secretary
• Domestic Policy
• Telecom Research
Media & Press
Agency Retains Oversight of .Com Domain With Safeguards to Protect Consumers, and Internet Stability and Security
For Immediate Release: Nov. 30, 2006
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) approved today a new .com domain name registry agreement between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and VeriSign Inc. The new agreement allows VeriSign to operate the .com domain through 2012.
The agreement was negotiated between ICANN, which manages the technical functions relating to the Internet domain name and addressing system, and VeriSign, which operates the .com registry, as part of a settlement of litigation over terms of the existing contract, and submitted to the Department for approval. The Department retains its right to review the .com domain name registry agreement as part of the continuing transition of the Internet domain name and addressing system to the private-sector.
As part of its nine-month review process, NTIA sought advice on the competition issues raised by the new agreement with the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. In addition, Department of Commerce officials met with interested stakeholders including registrars, Internet service providers, consumers and trade associations. The Department also sought input from a variety of federal agencies with national security, law enforcement and defense responsibilities regarding Internet security and stability.
As a condition of approval, the Department negotiated an amendment to its existing Cooperative Agreement with VeriSign to address the competition and Internet security and stability issues identified during the review process. Under this amendment, the Department retains oversight over any changes to the pricing provisions of, or renewals of, the new .com registry agreement. Department approval of any renewal will occur only if it concludes that the approval will serve the public interest in the continued security and stability of the Internet domain name system and the operation of the .com registry, and the provision of registry services at reasonable prices, terms and conditions.
A fact sheet, and the amendment with the new .com agreement attached are posted on the NTIA Web site at www.ntia.doc.gov.