Feeds

VeriSign gets European backing in ICANN reform fight

Plot thickens

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

A coalition of international top-level internet domain name registries yesterday called on the US Department of Commerce to ensure the Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers is reformed into a "lightweight" body with no regulatory power on new services and pricing,

Kevin Murphy writes

.

The move by VeriSign Inc and CENTR, which represents European country-code TLD operators, comes as ICANN is undergoing serious scrutiny from Washington, and as VeriSign is trying to introduce a new service that could add millions of dollars a year to its top line at a time when it is facing organic growth challenges.

In a letter to Nancy Victor, undersecretary of the DoC's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which oversees ICANN, VeriSign and CENTR say that ICANN should keep out of regulating services, which are the domain of the market and government, and should be reformed to specify a tight technical remit.

"The function of regulation remain[s] within governmental prerogatives, whether it be of prices, services, business practices, or open competition in general," the letter says. "Rather its [ICANN's] function is to act as a central depository for information about, and provide coordination among those who operate, the technical infrastructure of the internet, most notably in the domain name and IP numberings systems."

VeriSign runs the .com, .org and .net TLD registries, among others. CENTR (the Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries) includes such top-five registries as DENIC (for the German .de) and Nominet UK (for the UK's .uk). DENIC and VeriSign sent a letter to the NTIA yesterday virtually identical to the CENTR letter.

"This is the first time such major players have been in such united agreement," said VeriSign spokesperson Brian O'Shaughnessy. "ICANN should not turn into a regulator... This is purely a reaction to ICANN's mission creep."

ICANN's reaction is that the signatories of the letters all operate virtual monopolies, and so it's hardly surprising they don't want to be regulated "It's pricing regulation, in exchange for being able sit in this place and have a monopoly," ICANN's chief registrar liaison Dan Halloran said.

O'Shaughnessy said: "There's no such thing as a monopoly in this space. Every time a customer registers a .de or .uk domain, it's one less customer for VeriSign."

This intense lobbying comes at a time when VeriSign wants to introduce a controversial new Waiting List Service (WLS), which would allow VeriSign to add millions to its revenues every year, possibly at the expense of existing rival services.

In order to offer WLS, VeriSign has to have its contracts with ICANN amended, which means an ICANN board vote. Feasibly, ICANN's board could reject the proposal purely because they think the proposed price of $24 is too much. That kind of precedent being set is something VeriSign does not want.

O'Shaughnessy said: "This is a much broader issue than just introducing a Waiting List Service." He pointed out that ICANN is receiving criticism from many quarters at the moment - registries, the Senate, technology gurus. "The only people supporting ICANN are those people who are being paid by ICANN," he said.

The NTIA has control over whether ICANN's contract will be renewed at the end of next month, and it has made it clear that the outcomes of ICANN's efforts at internal reform will play a crucial factor in whether it gets to keep a grip on its powers.

© ComputerWire

More ICANN coverage on The Reg

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.