ICANN has received a request to redelegate the .TZ domain, a country-code top-level domain representing the United Republic of Tanzania, to Tanzania Network Information Centre Limited. ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.
The “TZ” ISO 3166-1 code is designated for use to represent the United Republic of Tanzania (hereinafter, “Tanzania”), a country located in eastern Africa with a population of approximately 41 million people.
In 1993 and 1994, Prof. Beda Mutagahwa of the University of Dar es Salaam, Bill Sangiwa and Kitalima Babula attended international Internet conferences, and met with Randy Bush — an Internet pioneer with an interest in introducing Internet capacity building in developing nations. Delegation of the .TZ domain was discussed, and was effected through a delegation request conducted in July 1995. At that time, there was no Internet access in Tanzania, so technical operations were conducted outside of the country.
On 14 February 2005, a “National Committee” was formed by the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), comprised of over 20 members from Internet Service Providers, Network Operators, individuals and the representatives of the University. This committee was supported by a technical expert group. It analysed the current utilisation of .TZ, alongside the experiences from other select countries, namely Brazil, China, Germany, Kenya and South Africa.
On 9 September 2005, the 2005 Tanzania Communications (Telecommunication Numbering and Electronic Address) Regulations were published under the Tanzania Communications Act 1993. The revised regulations provide that “The [Tanzania Communications Regulatory] Authority shall maintain control of all electronic communication numbers and addresses and ensure fair and efficient use of them by ... maintaining the national .tz electronic Address and users.”
In July 2006, the TCRA published the findings of the National Committee as “A Report on the .TZ Country-code Top-level Domain Management and Related Issues”. It found that “having in place a formally established entity representing the entire Internet community in the country” was best practice. It recommended that a non-profit limited company be established, whose sole purpose would be to “control, manage and operate” the .TZ domain. Membership of this organisation would be comprised solely of TCRA, and the Tanzania Internet Service Providers Association (TISPA). TISPA is an association of major ISPs operating in Tanzania, as well as being operator of the Tanzania Internet Exchange in Dar es Salaam.
To fulfil this recommendation, the Tanzania Network Information Centre Limited (hereinafter, “TZNIC”) was incorporated in Tanzania on 16 November 2006. It was later registered for taxation purposes within Tanzania on 20 October 2008.
TZNIC has stated that in the following years, a number of preparatory activities were conducted such as obtaining Internet number resource allocations, redundant network connectivity, reliable power supplies, registry systems and so forth.
On 10 August 2009, TZNIC stated that they completed transfer of .TZ management from University of Dar Es Salaam to themselves. The transfer was not authorised, as such transfer had not been approved by the ICANN redelegation procedure.
On 19 October 2009, TZNIC wrote to the current technical contact for .TZ, Randy Bush, advising that they intend to lodge a request to redelegate the .TZ domain. In this request, they asked that rip.psg.com — the authoritative name server for .TZ operated by Mr Bush — as well as sunic.sunet.se remain authoritative for the .TZ domain following redelegation.
On 23 October 2009, TZNIC submitted a request to ICANN for redelegation of the .TZ domain.
The proposed sponsoring organisation is Tanzania Network Information Centre Limited, a not-for-profit organisation located at New Bagamoyo Road, LAPF Millenimum Towers, Suite #4, Ground Floor, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
The proposed administrative contact is Abibu Ntahigiye, the Manager of Tanzania Network Information Centre. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Tanzania.
The proposed technical contact is Simon Balthazar, the Technical Officer of Tanzania Network Information Centre.
The top-level domain “TZ” is eligible for delegation under ICANN policy, as it is the assigned ISO 3166-1 two-letter code representing the country Tanzania.
The National Committee that concluded with the TZNIC model under consideration had representation from a diverse number of Internet community representatives. Specific endorsement of the actual request before ICANN has only been by the joint members of TZNIC, being TISPA and TCRA.
The Government of Tanzania has been involved in the process of conceiving TZNIC. The proposed sponsoring organisation was co-founded by the TCRA, which supports this redelegation request. Additionally, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology has written in support of redelegation to TZNIC, and designating the TCRA as its point of contact.
The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in Tanzania.
The proposed sponsoring organisation undertakes to continue to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner, through policy that is published on its website.
The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in Tanzania. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Tanzania. Significant operations will be conducted in the country, and the registry data is locally backed-up and recoverable within Tanzania.
The request is deemed uncontested, with the current sponsoring organisation consenting to the transfer.
The proposed sponsoring organisation has provided details on its operational and technical plans regarding .TZ operation. Parts of these plans have been specified as the conclusion in the report of the National Committee.
The organisation is comprised of two members — the government regulator TCRA, and the private sector organisation TISPA. The organisation also has a Policy Advisory Committee, comprised of four representatives of each of the two members.
The registry technical platform is based on the Free Registry for Enum and Domains, an open source software platform, deployed on a UNIX-based platform. The registry has diverse Internet connectivity, along with globally diverse authoritative name servers for the .TZ zone.
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. This includes managing the delegations of top-level domains.
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 assessment is that the action enhances 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 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.
Once all the documentation has been received, various technical checks are 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.