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Username: WRECA
Date/Time: Mon, October 23, 2000 at 11:49 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows 95
Score: 5
Subject: ".co-op" domain name


On behalf of the statewide office for Washington Rural Electric Co-ops, 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 office, Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association (WRECA), located in Olympia, WA, represents the statewide electric co-ops.  Our main function is to work with Federal agencies; State agencies and State Legislators, to insure that the cooperatives' best interests are not overlooked as new policies and laws are enacted.  Currently we have nine members who combined have over 99,000 members in the state of Washington.

As a rural, consumer-owned electric cooperative, WRECA 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-business, 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 our cooperatives provide 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.

Diane Gasaway
Office Manager/Legislative Assistant
1050 Capitol Way S, Ste A
Olympia, WA  98501


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