June 25, 1999

G 99-91
Contact: Morrie Goodman
Mary Hanley


Washington, D.C. - The Department of Commerce and Network Solutions agreed today to extend the test bed phase of the development of the Shared Registration System until July 16.

The Shared Registration System, which will allow multiple licensed accredited registrars to provide domain name registration services in the .com, .net, and .org domains, was developed by Network Solutions pursuant to a Cooperative Agreement with the United States Government. Under Amendment 12 of the Cooperative Agreement, the test bed phase, during which five accredited registrars are testing the functionality and performance of the System, was scheduled to be completed on June 25.

"Testing of the System is underway, and good progress is being made. However, adequate testing of the Shared Registration System requires an extension of the test period," Andrew Pincus, General Counsel of the Department said. "This extension is necessary to provide assurances about the stability, reliability, and robustness of the System in a multi-registrar environment, which is critical to the ultimate success of competitive registration."

After the completion of the test bed phase, the Shared Registration System will be opened to accredited registrars. The Department of Commerce expects the introduction of robust competition in domain name registration services to result in greater choice, better services and lower prices.

On April 21, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced the names of the five companies selected to be accredited for participation in the test bed phase. Those companies are America Online, the Internet Council of Registrars (CORE), France Telecom (Oleane), Melbourne IT, and ICANN has also qualified over 35 companies from around the world for accreditation as post-test bed registrars. ICANN is the California-based, not-for-profit corporation with a Board of Directors from around the world, developed by the Internet community to undertake management of the Internet domain name system functions now performed by, or under agreement with, the United States Government. Under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Commerce, ICANN is responsible for the accreditation of registrars in the .com, .net, and .org domains.

Information on ICANN and the registrar accreditation process can be found at

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration servers as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President, and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications and information issues and represents the Executive Branch before Congress, other Federal agencies, foreign governments and international organizations. Information regarding NTIA and NTIA activities can be found at