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Network Solutions International under fire from EU

Domain name body accused of abuse of position

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Network Solutions International (NSI) has come under fire from the EU in Brussels following allegations that the US Internet domain name registrar is abusing its dominant market position, ahead of future liberalisation. The European Commission is conducting an investigation into the issuing of licensing agreements between NSI and two Scandinavian companies carrying out work on its behalf. The Commission claims these agreements contain exclusivity clauses that prevent the two companies from dealings with possible future competitors to NSI. NSI has -- for now -- the exclusive right to register top level domain names for Internet addresses such as .org and .com, giving it a natural dominance in the marketplace. It'sstatus as a profit-making organisation was called in to question by a UK rival. "NSI will want to keep prices high for as long as possible because they have shareholders," said Dr Willie Black, managing director of Nominet, the .uk domain name awarding body. "While I would not want to comment on whether they are abusing their monopoly position, in the UK we operate on a not-for-profit basis," he continued. ®

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