PAB Euro Agency Wary of Second Domain Plan

Sascha Ignjatovic (
Sat, 14 Mar 1998 22:23:14 +0100 (MET)

hier we go again with the eurobuerocrats ...

Euro Agency Wary of Second Domain Plan

10:22am 11.Mar.98.PST
BRUSSELS - The European Commission, which last
month said it was unhappy with the tenor of a
new US proposal for running the Internet domain
name system, said today that an alternative plan
adopted by a coalition of Net insiders last year
must be reviewed by the agency's competition

The commission's comments, which come more than
10 months after the International Ad Hoc
Committee launched its new domain-name scheme
with great fanfare in Geneva, were made in an
article in its monthly newsletter on competition
issues. The ad hoc committee, which created an
international Council of Registrars to oversee
its system, approved creation of seven new
generic top-level domains such as .web and
.store to supplement .com, .net, and others
already in use.

"The commission must, in broad terms, be
satisfied that the participants in any revised
domain-name system are a fair representation of
interested parties," said the article by
competition official Kevin Coates. He added that
the commission, the European Union's executive
body, is also concerned about the participation
of dominant phone companies in name registration

Among the scores of organizations that signed
off on the ad hoc committee plan were the
Internet Society and many of its national
chapters, the Internet Assigned Numbers
Authority, and telecoms ranging from Albanian
Mobile Communications to MCI, Deutsche Telekom,
and France Telecom.

"Any significant influence by a dominant company
over the policy of domain-name allocation would
risk infringing the principle that a dominant
operator should not act as a regulator in its
own market," Coates wrote.

The Council of Registrars planned to launch its
new system late last year, but has pushed back
the start date several times. A more serious
obstacle than the new European concerns is the
Clinton administration's domain proposal, which
undercuts many of the central provisions of the
ad hoc committee plan.

Council officials were not immediately available
to comment.