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A Comment on the .NET auto-renew, proposed contract extension for multiple technical providers

  • To: net-agreement-renewal@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: A Comment on the .NET auto-renew, proposed contract extension for multiple technical providers
  • From: Eric Brunner-Williams <ebw@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 10:08:47 -0400

The proposed changes to the .NET agreement, while of some utility, do not address the core problem of monopoly power by the registry operator. This is a hold-over from the May 1999 decision to create a locus of competition in a separate registrar function, a decision reversed in November 2010.

The contract should be changed to include language which separates the formal Registry Operator (RO) functions (zone file signing, zone file production from one or more distinct data sources, pointer data to registrar held "thin registry" registrant data, registrar transfer processing, registrar invoicing, ICANN reporting and transactional fee processing and payment), from the Data Base Operator (DBO) (aka "registry technical services") set of functions, allowing registrants, through their registrars, to select the underlying competitive DBO for a given domain.

The means to allow the .NET contract to be modified, allowing a second, and subsequent Data Base Operators to provide database service to the Registry Operator, is now necessary, in light of the removal of structural separation requirement for legacy contracts.

No specific set-aside for ROOT-SERVERS.NET is necessary under a stability and security theory, as the root server operators are capable of designating whether they seek to use a DBO other than the current unique DBO.

An additional extension to EPP will be necessary, to allow registrants to select, through the registrar function, their choice of DBO to have custody of their data.

It is possible that the registrars with a large number of domains, or other mature database operators, including the operators of other registries, also currently contractually constrained as monopolies, will seek to become Competitive Data Base Operators (CDBOs) for the .NET registry, transforming over 10% of the gTLD domain market from monopoly to competition.

The default choice of many users may remain Verisign, the legacy monopoly registry entity. However, where competition is possible, and competition among back-end registry service providers within a single name space is possible, it must be allowed if the competition policy goal is to be achieved in the current decade.

Eric Brunner-Williams
Unaffiliated Member Representative
North American Regional At Large Organization
At Large Advisory Group

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