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BT becomes ninth UK ICANN-accredited registrar

Behind the times? It doesn't know who ICANN is

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British Telecom - the Great Satan of Broadband - has just received the royal seal of approval from ICANN as a registrar. Now it can join the party, fill ICANN and Network Solutions' coffers and register .coms, .nets and .orgs.

It can't register the seven gTLDs that ICANN begrudgingly handed over to the Internet community in November because ICANN hasn't got around to setting them up yet.

BT joins four UK companies that are accredited but not yet operational, four that are already operating as registrars (BBOnline, Easyspace, Total Web Solutions and Virtual Internet) and one other that has yet to qualify.

You might think that seeing as BT is trying to mark itself out as the UK Internet leader [splutter - what was that? - Ed] that it would got around to registering with ICANN long before now but you must remember that this is all part of the company's fiendishly cunning plan.

In fact, so tight-lipped is BT over its stunning plans that when we called to find out how the registrar business will work within the organisation and how they'll be marketing it, a spokeswoman pretended she didn't know what we were talking about. Or who ICANN was. Or what a registrar was. She did let down her guard and go "ah" at the word "domain" though.

Becoming an accredited part of the status quo is no easy task though. First you have to fill in a whole bunch of forms and sent them to ICANN with a $1,000 non-returnable fee. Four to six weeks later, ICANN, in its great wisdom, will decide whether you are appropriate.

You then get to give it an annual fee of $5,000. Oh, and a quarterly accreditation fee. Then, as long as you have $70,000 in working capital (you don't actually have to give this ICANN) you can start registering domain names. Oh no, hang on, you can't.

We forgot about Network Solutions - the consumer's champion. Right, you have to pay NSI $10,000 for a licence to its SRS (shared registration system) software, and give it an assurance of $100,000. Once your check has cleared at NSI (oh, and you have bought a licence for SSL software) you are then free to register domains at your leisure.

As long as you follow the flawed uniform domain resolution policy (UDRP) when dealing with any domain arguments.

Makes you wonder why someone doesn't just set up their own DNS system and offer some more useful domain names likes .kids without having to bow and scrape to ICANN and NSI. Oh they have. But more about that later.

Registrar factoids

  • There are 74 operational registrars. Thirty-seven of them are based in the US. Four each come from the UK, Canada and Korea.
  • There are 73 accredited but not yet operational registrars. Forty-four of them come from the US. Five from the UK.
  • There are 18 qualified but not yet accredited regsitrars. Eight are from the US.
  • ICANN says it has 179 registrars but we can only count 165. ®

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