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Thursday, November 26, 1998 Published at 15:02 GMT


US approves new Internet authority

US government and Icann agree on the future of the Internet

By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall

The Clinton administration has ended months of uncertainty over the future management of Internet addresses by choosing a new non-profit body to help develop the domain name system (DNS).

The Commerce Department published on the Internet on Wednesday a memorandum of understanding with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).

Icann, formed out of Iana, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, agrees in the memorandum to collaborate with the Commerce Department on developing a plan for the introduction of competition in domain name registration services.

Icann answers criticisms

The private company, Network Solutions is retaining control over the registration of top-level domains such as .com, .net and .org during a transitional period.

Icann will also have to set up a process for considering the expansion of gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains). There is pressure to add .FIRM, .SHOP, .WEB, .ARTS, .REC, .INFO, and .NOM.

The agreement comes after Icann sent a letter to the Commerce Department on Monday responding to criticisms that it was not open nor accountable enough and promising changes to its by-laws to achieve this.

Icann has not had the unanimous approval of the Internet community and the Commerce Department is still not handing over full control. The joint project being carried out could take nearly two years before a fully-formed organisation comes about.

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