G 99-43


Contact: Mary Hanley
(202) 482-7002


Washington, D.C. - On July 1, 1997, President Clinton asked me to undertake two tasks with respect to domain name management. First, he asked me to work to privatize the management of domain names and addresses in a manner that preserves the stability of the Internet. Second, he asked me to work with the private sector to facilitate the introduction of robust competition for domain name services.

This morning, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced the selection of five companies to participate in a two month test of a new shared registration service. The companies accredited by ICANN for this test are diverse in terms of size, business models, and geographic origin. In addition, ICANN has announced 29 additional companies who will compete in a free and open market when the test is complete.

This announcement is a significant step towards achieving both of the President's goals. The companies accredited by ICANN are ready, willing, and able to get out there and compete. I think that the result will be more choice and lower prices for consumers. I congratulate all of the companies announced today, and thank, especially the five testbed companies who will have special responsibilities for working with all of us during the test phase to pave the way for full competition.

This announcement is also a measure of how far we've come in moving towards private management of the domain name system. When we recognized ICANN in November, we knew that this new, not-for-profit corporation would have to earn the respect of the Internet community. The enthusiasm with which companies respond to ICANN's call for competing registrars demonstrates that ICANN is earning this respect. I want to congratulate and thank the ICANN board who, in the best tradition of the Internet, have volunteered their services in this important cause. I am also pleased that the Department of Commerce and Network Solutions Incorporated reached agreement on an interim price and licence for competing registrars in the testbed period.

These agreements enable the testbed to go forward on schedule. More work remains on this front but I am confident that we will resolve all issues.

*** Press Note - Details of the agreement will appear on the NTIA website at http://www.ntia.doc.gov