PAB U.S. to release revised Internet names plan Friday

Alan Sullivan (
Thu, 04 Jun 1998 17:24:37 -0400






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</center>01:53 PM ET 06/04/98

U.S. to release revised Internet names plan Friday

By Aaron Pressman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Clinton administration will

release its final plan to overhaul the Internet's naming system

Friday, but some of the most difficult decisions will be

deferred to a newly created non-profit group, people familiar

with the report said.

The eagerly awaited final plan, overseen by senior Clinton

adviser Ira Magaziner, seeks to resolve the controversy over

management of some of the Internet's most basic functions,

including the assignment and registration of names for World

Wide Web sites.

The administration still plans to phase out government

involvement in the naming system, as an initial draft of the

report released in January suggested. But specific proposals to

extend the system or dictate how it should function in the

future have been scaled back.

The January plan sparked complaints from Internet groups,

which said the government was making too many critical choices

that should be left to the parties involved. Companies with

strong brand names protested the creation of new domain names

that they have to monitor for possible trademark violations.

In Europe, many complained the initial plan left too much

power in the hands of U.S. organizations.

Under the current system, Network Solutions, of Herndon,

Va., manages the naming system in the Internet's popular generic

domains ``.com'', ``.org'' and ``.net'' under an exclusive

government contract that expires in September. The so-called

top-level domains are the two- or three-letter suffixes at the

end of every address on the Internet, as in the ``.gov'' at the

end of ``''.

Network Solutions would have faced two new forms of

competition under the January plan, although it would have

continued to manage the massive database containing all of the

registrations in ``.com'', ``.net'' and ``.org''.

The company would have been required to allow other firms to

register addresses and put them in the company's database. Also,

five new top-level domains would have been created, each with

its own registry manager.

But the revised, final plan leaves all of those decisions up

to a new non-profit group headed by 15 people selected from

private-sector, Internet and consumer groups, people familiar

with the plan said.

The Commerce Department said Thursday it will release the

final plan at a news conference Friday at 10 a.m..

The debate over the Internet's name and address system has

been raging for several years since one of the fathers of the

Net, Jon Postel, announced his own plan to add more addresses.

Postel's plan led to a cascade of revised plans,

highlighting the sometimes murky and ambiguous system for making

major changes to the vast network that arose informally from a

Cold War-era Defense Department project.


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