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Username: Grover G. Norquist
Date/Time: Tue, March 27, 2001 at 9:13 PM GMT (Tue, March 27, 2001 at 5:13 PM EDT)
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Subject: ATR supports agreement


        On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our network of over 3,000 state and local taxpayer groups nationally, and taxpayers in general, I want to express my support for the agreement between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and VeriSign, Inc., and encourage your favorable judgment.

As you know, at one time Network Solutions, now owned by VeriSign, was the only government-sanctioned organization to register entities for the .com, .org, and .net top-level domains (TLDs).  In 1999, Network Solutions, ICANN and the Department of Commerce negotiated a new agreement in order to create a competitive industry for registering domain names.  As part of this contract, Network Solutions agreed to separate its registry services and registrar business and allow other organizations to enter the market.  In the two years since the approval of the new agreement, VeriSign manages only 40 percent of the new registrations on the .com, .org, and .net TLDs, while ICANN has accredited over 150 new registrars, 90 of which are operational.

Because of the success of the 1999 agreement in opening this industry up to competition, ATR believes it is no longer beneficial for VeriSign to separate its registry and registrar services.  In fact, requiring VeriSign to do so would be a striking double standard within the industry.  ICANN currently permits new organizations to act as both registry and registrar, and demanding this division by VeriSign only would place an unfair burden upon this company.

In order to ensure a level playing field, and alleviate any concerns that VeriSign could maintain a monopoly in this market, the new 2001 agreement struck by VeriSign and ICANN requires VeriSign to relinquish control over .net and .org, and only maintain registry and registrar services over the .com TLD.  In addition, VeriSign has pledged an investment of $200 million over a ten-year period to increase the efficiency of the .com, .net and .org registries and enable access by all ICANN-accredited registrars.  In turn, ICANN will assign a non-commercial entity to register the .org TLD and re-establish its primary purpose as a TLD for other non-commercial entities.  ATR urges ICANN in its discretion to grandfather-in organizations that currently own .org registries in an effort to ensure continuity and allow those organizations that have branded themselves with this TLD to keep the web presence for which they originally registered.

ATR believes this new agreement between ICANN and VeriSign will advance competition in this growing industry while ensuring a level playing field.  I encourage ICANN to approve this agreement.


Grover G. Norquist



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