October 6, 1998

CONTACT: Karen Kirchgasser
(202) 482-7002


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Commerce and Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) signed an agreement today to facilitate the stable evolution of the Internet domain name system (DNS) to private sector management.

Last June, the United States government invited the global community of Internet stakeholders to work together to form a not-for-profit corporation to manage DNS functions. The Statement of Policy issued by the Department of Commerce on June 5 (the White Paper) indicated that the United States is prepared to recognize, by entering into agreement with, and to seek international support for a private corporation committed to operating the DNS system in a manner that preserves the stability of the Internet, supports the development of competition and greater consumer choice, preserves, as far as possible, the bottom-up coordination characteristic of Internet operation, and that reflects the functional and geographic diversity of the Internet and its users.

The agreement reached today with NSI paves the way for the transition of DNS management responsibilities to a new not-for-profit corporation, and achieves the objectives outlined in the White Paper. Under the agreement, NSI has agreed to:

(1) develop software to open .com, .net and .org to competing registrars on a phased approach beginning on March 31, 1999 with full implementation by June 1, 1999.

(2) recognize the authority of the new not-for-profit corporation described in the White Paper to establish and implement DNS policy and to establish the terms under which gTLDs, registries, and registrars operate; and

(3) make available the databases, software, documentation, technical expertise and other intellectual property needed by the new corporation to manage DNS in accordance with the White Paper.

"This agreement is the result of in-depth discussions between NSI and the Department of Commerce,"said Becky Burr, Associate Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. "It delivers on the promises that the Department outlined in the White Paper and demonstrates NSI's commitment to robust competition in DNS management."

Last week, the Department received three proposals to administer policy for the development of competition in the Internet name and address space. The proposals are posted at and public comments on the proposals will be accepted through October 13, 1998. The Department of Commerce will also consult with interested governments to obtain their views on any proposals submitted. Electronic comments can be sent to Written comments can also be sent to: Karen Rose, NTIA/OIA, Room 4701, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th and Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20230.