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Username: interested
Date/Time: Fri, March 30, 2001 at 4:31 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.0 using Windows 98
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Subject: Proposed Verisign Agreement


This letter highlights the real issues with this agreement -- fair competition and a transparent process.  Let's hope ICANN and DoC address both.

March 29, 2001

The Honorable Donald Evans
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Avenues, NW
Washington, DC  20230

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to you concerning the U.S. Commerce Department’s role in reviewing the recently announced renegotiation of a 1999 contract between VeriSign and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”).

As you know, the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet recently held an oversight hearing on ICANN’s process for creating new top-level domains and its role in Internet governance. That hearing raised questions about ICANN’s domain name selection process and whether it afforded adequate due process to applicants.  We remain committed to ensuring a competitive and transparent domain name system that promotes the interests of the U.S. economy and global Internet policy and we are eager to work with the Bush Administration toward these goals.

We understand that ICANN has chosen to renegotiate its arrangement with VeriSign.  Specifically, if approved by the Department of Commerce and the ICANN Board, the new agreement would eliminate the 1999 requirement that VeriSign divest either its retail (registrar) or wholesale (registry) business.  Further, the revised agreement would provide VeriSign with an additional six year term for the .com registry, with a presumption of renewal, would allow VeriSign to extend the .net registry term to 2006, and would require VeriSign to relinquish control of the .org registry in 2002.

Without taking a position on the propriety of the revised agreement, we want to ensure that any actions by ICANN support and encourage strong, vibrant competition.  Accordingly, we respectfully request that the Department fully analyze the competitive issues that arise as a result of this agreement.  Further, as Mr. Cerf, Chairman of ICANN, said during our February hearing, ICANN is a “consensus development body” which requires that major decisions affecting the future of the Internet be done in an open and transparent manner.  Therefore, we urge you to exercise your oversight authority to ensure that ICANN’s final decision in this matter is made and implemented in a transparent fashion.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.  Please keep us apprised of developments in this area.


________________________________ ________________________________
W.J. “Billy” Tauzin John D. Dingell
Chairman Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce Committee on Energy and Commerce

________________________________ ________________________________
Fred Upton Edward J. Markey
Chairman Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Subcommittee on Telecommunications and
the Internet the Internet

cc:  Vinton G. Cerf, Chairman, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names


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