Tech trials delay new Net registrars

Tedious process

Rivals in the domain name registration field have had to delay business until June. Competition to sole provider Network Solutions (NSI) has been put off due to interoperability issues, according to TechWeb. On April 21 five companies were named to register Web addresses .com, .org, and .net. Industry Internet body ICANN said the test companies were expected to start registering URLs around April 26. But the five registrars -- AOL, the Internet Council of Registrars (Core), France Telecom, Melbourne IT and register.com -- are still waiting. NSI has been criticised of deliberately prolonging the process to keep the monopoly it has had since 1993. NSI spokesman Brian O’Shaughnessy objected: "It’s unfair to characterise that we have slowed down the process," he said. "This is new technology, new ground. There are security and stability issues." O’Shaughnessy added that problems in the security software was slowing registrations, but NSI was working to solve these problems. Each of the five companies had to cough up a $100,000 performance bond and $10,000 NSI fee before receiving the enabling software. This software must now be tested to ensure compliance with their own. "A significant amount of responsibility that had been assumed by NSI is being passed over to the registrars, some of which had never been contemplated, such as dispute resolution," said Ken Stubbs, Core chairman. "It's just a tedious process."®

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