Redelegation of the .OM domain representing Oman to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority

ICANN has received a request to redelegate the .OM domain, a country-code top-level domain representing Oman, to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.

Factual Information

Country

The "OM" ISO 3166-1 code is designated for use to represent Oman.

Chronology of events

The .OM top-level domain was initially delegated in 1996 to the General Telecommunications Organization of Oman. The organisation, since renamed to Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), is the current operator of the .OM top-level domain.

The proposed sponsoring organisation, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), was formed under the Telecommunications Regulatory Act, issued under Royal Decree No. 30/2002. The TRA was created to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of telecommunications services in the Sultanate. The mandate of the TRA was extended by Royal Decree No. 64/2007 to “organize, allocate and manage the domain names to access the world wide web.”

In September 2008, the TRA published a “Consultation Paper on the Proposed Domain Name Framework for .OM ccTLD”. It invited comments on a proposal for the TRA to “take over the function of managing the .om ccTLD”. In response, three comments were received from ArabianOman.com, Omantel, and the Ministry of Legal Affairs. These comments, along with commentary in response, were published by the TRA in 2009.

In April 2011, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Oman presented an application to ICANN for redelegation of the .OM top-level domain.

Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts

The proposed sponsoring organisation is the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Oman, a governmental entity established by royal decree in Oman.

The proposed administrative contact is Mohammed Al-Raisi, Manager of Domain Names and Numbering Management of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Oman.

The proposed technical contact is Zainab Al-Farsi, Specialist, Technical Affairs Unit of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

Evaluation of the Request

String Eligibility

The top-level domain is eligible for continued delegation under ICANN policy, as it is the assigned ISO 3166-1 two-letter code representing the country Oman.

Public Interest

Support for the application to delegate the domain to the the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority was received from Dr Mohammed Ali al-Wahaibi, Undersecretary for Communications of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Additional government support was received from the Information Technology Authority of Oman, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the Research Council of Oman.

Letters of support for the application have been received on behalf of the Oman Telecommunications Company, the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhofar University, Sultan Qaboos University, the University of Nizwa and the Omani Qatari Telecommunications Company (Nawras).

The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in Oman.

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 Oman. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Oman. The registry is to be operated in the country.

Stability

The request is deemed uncontested, with the current sponsoring organisation Omantel consenting to the transfer. An appropriate transfer plan has been tendered with support from the involved parties.

Competency

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.

Evaluation Procedure

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:

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.