ICANN has received a request to redelegate the .IN domain, a country-code top-level domain representing India, to the National Internet Exchange of India. ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.
The “IN” ISO 3166-1 code is designated for use to represent India, a country located in Asia with a population of approximately 1.2 billion people.
The .IN domain was initially delegated in the DNS root zone in 1989. The current sponsoring organisation is the National Centre for Software Technology (NCST).
In 2002, NCST was merged into the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), a scientific research and development institution of the Ministry of Information Technology. No application was made to ICANN to transfer operation of .IN to this new entity.
In September 2004, the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) received a presentation by Shri R.K. Arora of the Department of Information Technology. They were advised the Department was revamping the .IN Registry by way of bringing necessary policy changes to making the domain name registration system “liberal, efficient and market friendly”. The minutes of the meeting conclude:
In this context, a Committee consisting of representatives of [the Department], ERNET and NIC went into the details and brought out a report which comprised the following for setting up a new policy framework and implementation plan for .IN Network Information Centre (INNIC):
- major policy elements for .IN registration
- institutional framework for INNIC
- implementation mechanisms for INNIC
It has been decided with the approval of Competent Authority to entrust the responsibility of setting up INNIC for carrying out .IN Registry operation to NIXI Noida as an appropriate organization to deal with this Internet business.
Accordingly, NIXI will set up INNIC at the current premises of STPI Noida where NIXI already has its Internet Exchange point.
On 30 September 2004, the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) passed the resolution:
Pursuant to Section 17 and other applicable provisions, if any, of the Companies Act 1956 and subject to confirmation fot he Company Law Board, and the Member of the Company, the main Object Clause of the Memorandum and Article of Association be and is hereby altered by adding the following new Clause after the existing Clause III (A) (4):
To carry on Internet domain name registry operations and related activities.
On 20 November 2004, the Secretary of the Department of Information Technology issued an order that the Department “designates and appoints National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) as .IN Registry for .IN country code top level domain name”.
NIXI made an announcement on 22 August 2005 to .IN domain registrations advising “The Government of India has decided that C-DAC will cease providing .IN domain name services on November 30 2005. C-DAC was the .IN domain registry operatior until December 30 2004, when NIXI took over as the new registry operator.”
By January 2006, C-DAC continued to take responsibility for the .IN domain but no longer had any direct operational role.
In January 2009, C-DAC wrote to ICANN advising that NCST was no longer in existence and had been superseded by C-DAC, and that with effect of 1st January 2005 .IN had been transferred to NIXI. ICANN responded advising of the requirements of the redelegation procedure, as well as asking what the relationship between NIXI and C-DAC was in order to identify if the change could be considered non-substantive.
On 18 September 2009, a redelegation request was submitted to ICANN requesting the redelegation of the .IN domain to NIXI.
The proposed sponsoring organisation is the National Internet Exchange of India, an incorporated company under Indian law. Its registered office at Incube Business Centre, 5th floor, 18 Nehru Place, New Delhi, India.
The proposed administrative contact is Rajiv Kumar. The administrative contact is understood to be resident in India.
The proposed technical contact is Howard Eland.
The top-level domain “IN” is eligible for delegation under ICANN policy, as it is the assigned ISO 3166-1 two-letter code representing the country India.
Demonstrations of significant community deliberation or consultation concerning the transfer of operations from NCST to NIXI in 2004 have not been provided. The transfer was made by decree by the Department of Information Technology. In association with this 2009 request, two organisations — the Internet Services Providers Association of India, and the Cyber Café Association of India, have written contemporary support of the transfer.
The government has been consulted in this process, and consents to the transfer. The current sponsoring organisation is an entity of the government, and the government chairs the private-sector organisation that is proposed to be the sponsoring organisation.
The application is consistent with known applicable local laws within India.
The applicant undertakes to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner, through policy that is published on its website.
Operation of the sponsoring organisation is overseen by its Board of Directors comprised of the Chairman, being the Secretary of the Department of Information Technology; two additional members from the Department; 10 representatives of Internet Service Providers; and one representative from the Indian Institute of Technology.
The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in India. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in India.
An unauthorised transfer of registry operations, absent completion of the redelegation process, has already been conducted. The transfer between NCST and NIXI occurred in January 2005. As a result, there is no foreseen transfer issues as the de facto operator is already NIXI.
The transfer is deemed uncontested, with the legal successor to the current sponsoring organisation consenting to the change.
For reasons stated above, the .IN registry has already been operational with NIXI for some time. NIXI is comprised of 13 staff, with registry operations provided by Afilias, a registry services provider that provides service a number of other top-level domains.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is tasked with managing the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with the U.S. Government.
A subset of top-level domains are designated for the local Internet communities in countries to operate in a way that best suits their local needs. These are known as country-code top-level domains, and are assigned by ICANN to responsible trustees (known as “Sponsoring Organisations”) who meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the trustee has from their local Internet community, their capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and their applicability under any relevant local laws.
Through an ICANN department known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), requests are received for delegating new country-code top-level domains, and redelegating or revoking existing country-code top-level domains. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, when appropriate, the requests are implemented. Decisions on whether to implement requests are made by the ICANN Board of Directors, taking into account ICANN’s core mission of ensuring the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.
The evaluation of eligibility for country-code top-level domains, and of evaluating responsible trustees charged with operating them, is guided by a number of principles. The objective of the principles is to ensure the secure and stable operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems. The evolution of the principles has been documented in “Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (RFC 1591), “Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (ICP-1), and other informational memoranda.
In considering requests to delegate or redelegate country-code top-level domains, input is sought regarding the proposed new Sponsoring Organisation, as well as from persons and organisations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated.
The assessment is focussed on the capacity for the proposed sponsoring organisation to meet the following criteria:
To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and method of operation. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, various documentation is sought describing: the views of the local internet community on the application; the competencies and skills of the trustee to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed trustee; and the nature of government support fort he proposal. The view of any current trustee is obtained, and in the event of a redelegation, the transfer plan from the previous sponsoring organisation to the new sponsoring organisation is also assessed with a view to ensuring ongoing stable operation of the domain.
After receiving this documentation and input, it is analysed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed sponsoring organisation should the information provided in the original application be deficient. The applicant is given the opportunity to cure any deficiencies before a final assessment is made.
Various technical checks are also performed on the proposed sponsoring organisation’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, IANA staff will work with the applicant to address the issues.
Assuming all issues are resolved, an assessment is compiled providing all relevant details regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and its suitability to operate the top-level domain being requested. This assessment is submitted to ICANN’s Board of Directors for its determination on whether to proceed with the request.