For Immediate Release
August 6, 1999

Media Contact: 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 September 10. The agreement will also allow additional accredited registrars to provide domain name registration services.

The Shared Registration System, which allows 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. Amendment 11 of the Cooperative Agreement established a test bed phase for the development of the System during which five accredited registrars are testing the functionality and performance of the System.

Today's agreement makes new registrars who have signed an accreditation agreement with ICANN eligible to participate in the test bed period. The additional registrars will further test the scalability of the System and provide valuable information regarding its performance in a more competitive environment.

"This extension and the addition of new accredited registrars to the test bed phase will provide important and necessary information regarding the operation of the Shared Registration System in an expanded competitive market," said Commerce General Counsel Andrew J. Pincus.

"Today's agreement to extend the test bed until September 10 will help to ensure that the functions of the System have been adequately tested in a multi-registrar environment. We also expect that the expansion of the test bed phase will provide for greater consumer choice, better services and lower prices." Pincus said.

In addition, NSI has agreed to remove restrictions on the use of WHOIS data for third-party development of value-added products and services pending resolution of all outstanding issues.

"We have been engaged in extremely productive negotiations with NSI and ICANN. We have made important progress towards resolving our remaining issues," Pincus said. Pincus added that "there are significant issues yet to be resolved, but we are optimistic we will achieve our goal of a transition to the private sector and the introduction of additional competition in domain name registration services."

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 50 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.


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