IANA Report on Delegation of the .ME Domain
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function of ICANN, as part of the administrative tasks associated with management of the Domain Name System root zone, is responsible for receiving requests for the delegation and redelegation of top-level domains, investigating and reporting on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, when appropriate, implementing the redelegations.
In accordance with ICANN’s performance of these functions, IANA received a request for the delegation of the .ME top-level domain. This domain is designated in the ISO 3166-1 standard for Montenegro, a European country with a population of approximately 700,000. The application for delegation was received on 24 December 2006.
The “ME” code was assigned in the ISO 3166-1 standard by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency on 26 September 2006. This followed the break up of the former “Serbia and Montenegro”, which was allocated the ISO 3166-1 code of “CS”. The .CS domain was never delegated in the root zone for Serbia and Montenegro – instead the country used the .YU domain reflecting the former ISO 3166-1 code for Yugoslavia. The continued use of .YU rather than .CS was on the mutual understanding between IANA and the operator that there was a reasonable prospect that a referendum would result in the creation of a separate Serbia and Montenegro, and result in the issuance of two new country codes.
The delegation application seeks to assign a sponsoring organisation for .ME to the Government of Montenegro, with operations conducted by the Center of Information Systems (CIS) of the University of Montenegro.
In support of the application, IANA has been provided with documentation describing the competencies of CIS. It describes in detail the plan for establishing the registry – including detailed technical implementation details, staff resources, financial resources, and other aspects. The applicant proposes to establish a registry-registrar retail model for the .ME domain, and is being assisted in this task – both with expertise and with software – by CZNIC, the operator of the country-code top-level domain for the Czech Republic.
It is proposed that the formal supporting organisation – that is the entity that is responsible for management of the domain, including setting policy and coordinating technical activities – be the Government of Montenegro. In support of the delegation, the Government made a formal decision on 7 December 2006 to appoint CIS as “entitled to act as an administrator of the national Internet domain”. This was communicated, along with the specific endorsement of this proposal, by Zarko Sturanovic, the Secretary-General of the Government of Montenegro to IANA in July 2007.
In consideration of the transition from the .YU domain to the .ME domain (and in conjunction, the transition of the Serbian users of .YU to the .RS domain), CIS has entered into a joint arrangement with the current operator of .YU, and a proposed new operator for .RS. This agreement proposes that the operation of .YU will be transferred to the operator of .RS during the transition period. It is proposed that existing registrants under CG.YU, MN.YU, and CG.AC.YU – which reflect the sub-domains under .YU that were used in Montenegro – will be given a pre-emptive right to register new domains under .ME during the implementation phase.
In its role as investigator of delegation and redelegation requests, IANA procedure is guided by the practices summarized in:
“Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (RFC 1591). This document describes IANA’s practices relating to delegations at its publication in 1994. See http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1591.txt
“Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation.” (ICP-1). This document represents an update of the portions of RFC 1591 dealing with ccTLDs and reflects subsequent evolution of the policies followed by ICANN through May 1999. See http://www.icann.org/icp/icp1.htm.
The Governmental Advisory Committee Principles for Delegation and Administration of ccTLDs (GAC Principles). This document serve as “best practices” to guide governments in assuming proper roles with respect to the Internet's naming system. See http://www.icann.org/committees/gac/gac-cctldprinciples-23feb00.htm.
In considering the delegation or redelegation of a ccTLD, IANA staff seeks input from both the requesting party as well as from persons and/or organizations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated. As noted in ICP-1, the parties affected include the relevant government or public authority: "The desires of the government of a country with regard to delegation of a ccTLD are taken very seriously. The IANA will make them a major consideration in any TLD delegation/transfer discussions."
Taking these factors into consideration, the burden of proof required to permit a delegation involves determining facts that relate to the applicant’s capacity to meet the following criteria:
In meeting these criteria, the IANA staff requests information from the applicant. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, IANA staff asks for various documentation describing: the views of the local Internet community on a change; the competencies and skills of the organisation to operate the registry; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed operator; and the nature of government support for the proposal.
After receiving these documents, IANA staff analyses the input it has received in relation to existing zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the applying organization should the information provided by the applicant in their request be deficient.
Once all the documentation has been received, IANA staff will also perform various technical checks on the proposed operator’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries for the top-level domain being requested. Should any anomalies be detected in the applicant’s technical infrastructure, IANA will work with the applicant to address the issues.
Assuming all technical issues are resolved, IANA staff will compile a report, providing all relevant details regarding the applicant, its suitability for operating the top-level domain being requested, and any other information pertinent to the application and submit that report to ICANN’s Board of Directors for its determination on whether to proceed with the request.
This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the IANA function between the United States Government and ICANN. Under that contract, ICANN performs the IANA function, which includes receiving delegation and redelegation requests concerning top-level domains, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and reporting on the requests. Pertaining to the obligations described in the evaluation procedure, in summary IANA staff has assessed the applicant’s credentials to be as follows:
Operational and technical skills
The operator has supplied a detailed plan for implementing a new registry operation for .ME. They have obtained counsel from existing country-code top-level domain registries to assist them in the task.
Operator in country
Operations will be based in the country, with the Sponsoring Organisation to be the Government of the country.
Fair and equitable treatment
The applicant has made undertakings to IANA that registrations will be performed on a first-come first-served basis that is fair and equitable.
The Government is the applicant for the delegation, and has provided letters of support. It has also passed a number of resolutions in support of the request.
IANA has received an expression of support from the Association of Information and Communication Technologies, part of the Montenegrin Chamber of Commerce. The applicant has made undertakings that there is not a substantially organized Internet community in the country, and that this organisation is the most appropriate to express the general consensus of the local Internet community.
According to RFC 1591 and ICP-1, IANA needs to respect the ability for a local Internet community as well as local law and local government to make decisions about the operation of a TLD.
In its research, IANA believes that the applicant has met the criteria for reassignment. When considered in conjunction with the application for the .RS domain, and a transition and decommissioning plan for .YU, this represents an appropriate path forward for establishing a country-code for Montenegro on the Internet, and transitioning its users from its former country-code.
IANA therefore concludes that the .ME domain should be delegated to Government of Montenegro as per their request.
On September 11, 2007 the Board of ICANN passed the following resolutions:
Whereas, the .ME top-level domain is the designated country-code for Montenegro,
Whereas, ICANN has received a request for delegation of .ME to the Government of Montenegro,
Whereas, ICANN has reviewed the request, and has determined that the proposed delegation would be in the best interest of the local and global Internet communities,
Resolved (07.75), that the proposed delegation of the .ME domain to the Government of Montenegro is approved.
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