The board of Australia's industry body overseeing domain names, au Domain Administration Ltd. (auDA), has approved the Competition Model Advisory Panel's final report, which will open the way for competition in the provision of domain name services in the .au domain.
AuDA chief executive officer Chris Disspain said the new model will drive the prices for domain names down. "At the moment the structure is not competitive, but these changes will bring in competition at all levels," said Disspain. "The model will provide certainty for the industry and consumers alike by ensuring a level playing field and setting accepted standards of behavior."
The approved competition model's features include an open tender process, administered by auDA, for provision of registry services for .au second-level domains (2LDs). Those taking part in tenders for the registry are now able to bid for all, some or one of the 2LDs while registrars accredited by auDA are able to sell domain names in all 2LDs.
Under the model, auDA will no longer operate the AUNIC registry. AuDA migrated AUNIC onto a new server hosted by NetRegistry in June. Under the terms of the agreement, NetRegistry has been appointed to provide hosting services for AUNIC at no cost to auDA. In exchange, NetRegistry can place its logo on the AUNIC web site.
AuDA will continue to provide the WHOIS domain name look-up service and other services in the public interest and will regulate industry conduct in such matters as renewal notices and advance payment of fees.
AuDA is set to implement the panel's recommendations by the end of the year and will soon release a full implementation plan and timetable on the auDA website.