Oz company selected for domain name trial run

An Australian company has been selected as one of five to be involved in a trial run of the new Internet domain name registration system.

Melbourne IT, a division of which is domain name registrar Internet Names Australia, has been chosen to be part of a two-month test of the new system which has been designed to introduce competition into the registration of the top-level domains .com, .net and .org.

The testbed also includes the likes of America Online, the Internet Council of Registrars (CORE), France Telecom SA's Oléane subsidiary and register.com.

INA is thrilled with the news and counts a number of factors in its selection, according to Michael Dowling, the company's business development and sales manager.

"We felt we had a good chance because of the reputation we have earned with the com.au space in this region," he said, "and we also felt that they would be looking for geographic reach in terms of the registrars they appointed."

Australia's overall position in regard to the Internet and the role the government has been playing through the National Office for the Information Economy, has also helped, Dowling told PC World.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organisation, is overseeing the introduction of the system, which is seen to be a major step in removing the monopoly that US company Network Solutions (NSI) has held in accordance to a contract with the US Government.

After the test, NSI will have to grant equal access to registry services to all accredited registrars. At least 25 more accredited registrars are expected to begin offering registration services at the end of June, said Michael Roberts, interim president and chief executive of ICANN.

Under the previous system domain name registrars were bound by the NSI policy and pricing, said Dowling: "so really this is a step to competition."

In the long term the price of registering .com, .org and .net domain names could come down, said Dowling, by how much, though, he couldn't say.

Other benefits from the new system will be better service standards and a quicker process that will be as automated as much as possible, Dowling added.