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Username: mmcwaters
Date/Time: Mon, October 23, 2000 at 5:04 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.61 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: .co-op


On behalf of the 32,000+ members of Cullman Electric Cooperative, I am writing to urge the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)to approve the proposal for a .co-op top-level domain. The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) and Poptel are proposing .co-op with the full endorsement of the International Cooperative Alliance.

Our cooperative provides electricity, internet access and financial services to members in five counties in north Alabama.  As a rural, consumer-owned electric cooperative, Cullman EC works hard to provide our members with the best services possible. And we follow the
International Cooperative Alliance cooperative principles, such as member ownership and control. That makes our job more challenging than investor-owned businesses, but it has also earned us the trust of the people we serve.

As consumers become increasingly cynical about the constant ebb and flow of new and defunct e-businesses, it's critical that cooperative businesses have an opportunity to identify themselves to consumers and others who prefer to do business with us.  While many cooperatives use .com and .org, neither accurately characterizes co-ops to Internet users. Consumers need a way to find the businesses they trust on the Internet. The .co-op TLD will help do that.

Though my cooperative provides electric service to predominantly rural consumers, co-ops operate in virtually all industries, in 100 countries, and in both rural and urban areas; there are 750,000 cooperatives worldwide with 725 million members. As a result, the .co-op TLD will apply to a broad range of businesses across
the globe.

I urge you to move quickly to approve .co-op.

Michael S. McWaters
Vice President, Member Services
Cullman Electric Cooperative


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