Delegation of the .CW domain representing Curaçao to the University of the Netherlands Antilles, and transitional arrangements for the .AN domain representing the Netherlands Antilles
ICANN has received a request to delegate the .CW domain, a country-code top-level domain representing Curaçao, to the University of the Netherlands Antilles. ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.
The "CW" ISO 3166-1 code is designated for use to represent Curaçao.
The “.AN” top-level domain reflects a former entry in the ISO 3166-1 standard for the Netherlands Antilles, which was retired from the standard in December 2010.
Chronology of events
In 1993, the University of the Netherlands Antilles successfully sought delegation of the “.AN” top-level domain, representing the ISO 3166-1 code for the Netherlands Antilles.
On 10 October 2010, the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved. Of its constituent parts, Curaçao and Sint Maarten both became new countries, whereas Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (collectively, “the BES islands”), became municipalities of the Netherlands.
On 15 December 2010, the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency instantiated three new entries in the ISO 3166-1 database. These were for Curaçao, with the two-letter code of “CW”; for Sint Maarten (Dutch part), with the two-letter code of “SX”; and for the BES islands, with the two-letter code of “BQ”.
In January 2011, the University of the Netherlands Antilles presented its initial application to ICANN for delegation of the .CW top-level domain. Subsequently, over the course of the year the application was expanded and revised.
In March 2011, the University and SX Registry SA executed a “grand-father agreement”. In the agreement, Luxembourg-based SX Registry SA, a prospective future sponsoring organisation of the “.SX” top-level domain, undertook to offer all existing Sint Maarten-based registrants of .AN domains — of which there are approximately 30 — the ability to register the matching domain within the .SX domain, prior to any other sunrise process for the domain.
In September 2011, the University entered into a revised agreement with SX Registry SA B.V. in regards to the transitional arrangements concerning the .AN top-level domain. This revision reflected the new Sint Maarten-based entity which sought the delegation of the .SX top-level domain.
Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts
The proposed sponsoring organisation is the University of the Netherlands Antilles, based in Curaçao.
The proposed administrative and technical contact is Leendert J.J. Pengel, the Manager of ICT and Facility Services at the University of the Netherlands Antilles. The contact is understood to be based in Curaçao.
Evaluation of the Request
The .CW top-level domain is eligible for delegation, as it is the assigned ISO 3166-1 two-letter code representing the country Curaçao. The .AN top-level domain for the Netherlands Antilles is no longer eligible for continued delegation, as it is no longer an ISO 3166-1 two-letter code.
Support for the application to delegate the domain to the University of the Netherlands Antilles was received from G. F. Schotte, the Prime Minister of Curaçao. The communication designates the University as “[r]egistry, administrator and manager” of the .CW domain, in accordance with decisions of the Executive Council of the former territory of Curaçao, dated 24 September 2010.
Letters of support for the application have also been received on behalf of the Curaçao Bureau for Intellectual Property, and from EOCG Wireless NV.
The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in Curaçao.
The proposed sponsoring organisation undertakes to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.
Based in country
The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in Curaçao. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Curaçao. The registry is to be operated in the country.
The request is deemed uncontested. The proposed sponsoring organisation is the current sponsoring organisation of the .AN domain from which the majority of registrations are being transferred. A local telecommunications company, UTS, which has been providing technical and operational support to the University in operating the .AN registry will continue to do so for the .CW registry. An appropriate transfer plan for Curaçao-based and Sint Maarten-based domains has been tendered with support from the involved parties.
The application has provided satisfactory details on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the domain. Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.
Disposition of the .AN top-level domain
The .AN top-level domain for the Netherlands Antilles is no longer eligible for continued delegation, as it is no longer an ISO 3166-1 two-letter code. In accordance with the code’s removal from the ISO 3166-1 standard, the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency asks users of the standard to “stop using [the code] ASAP”†.
As discussed in detail in the consideration of a similar case of the .YU top-level domain, ICANN’s role is to be an independent technical coordinator of the domain name system. As such, the ISO 3166-1 standard was chosen as the arbiter for what is, and what is not, a basis for country-code domains. In order to retain consistency with the standard, ICANN coordinates the removal of the .AN domain in conjunction with the transition to its successor domains. In such cases, ICANN asks the current operator to perform an orderly wind-down and transition process.
The proposed sponsoring organisation for .CW intends to continue to operate the .AN domain while transitional arrangements are executed. These transitional arrangements include provisions for registrants in Curaçao to transfer registrations to .CW; and for registrants in Sint Maarten to transfer registrations to .SX. The applicant calls for a phased transition to be concluded over a period of three years, after which time the .AN domain will be fully retired.
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.
Purpose of evaluations
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 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:
- The domain should be operated within the country, including having its sponsoring organisation and administrative contact based in the country.
- The domain should be operated in a way that is fair and equitable to all groups in the local Internet community.
- Significantly interested parties in the domain should agree that the prospective trustee is the appropriate party to be responsible for the domain, with the desires of the national government taken very seriously.
- The domain must be operated competently, both technically and operationally. Management of the domain should adhere to relevant technical standards and community best practices.
- Risks to the stability of the Internet addressing system must be adequately considered and addressed, particularly with regard to how existing identifiers will continue to function.
Method of evaluation
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, ICANN 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.