Redelegation of the .MO domain representing Macao to the Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation (DSRT)

ICANN has received a request to redelegate the .MO domain, a country-code top-level domain representing Macao, to the Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation (DSRT). ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.

Factual Information

Country

The "MO" ISO 3166-1 code is designated for use to represent Macao.

Chronology of events

The .MO domain was first delegated in 1992 to the University of Macau. The University is still the currently listed manager in the IANA Root Zone Database.

On 24 October 2002, the Administrative Regulation for the provision of Internet services of Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) No. 24/2002 was passed. Article 16 of this regulation specifies that “Government or its designated entity is responsible to manage and register domain names in accordance with applicable specification requirements, on behalf of the Macao Special Administrative Region.”

Since 2003, the University of Macau had been designated by the Macao government to run Macao Network Information Center (MONIC) for the provision of domain name registration and management services according to two legislations that were passed in 2003 and 2006 for a period of three and five years respectively.

On 15 May 2006, the Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation (DSRT) was established as the telecommunications regulatory body of Macao. According to Item 9, Article 12 of the Administrative Regulation of Macao No. 5/2006 for organisation and functioning of the Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation, DSRT carries out the responsibility for the coordination of distribution and management of Internet domain names and websites.

On 26 August 2010, the Government of Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) issued a public tender for the installation and operation of “Domain Name Administration and Registration System of Macao SAR”.

On 2 December 2010, the Executive Chief of MSAR awarded the contract to the joint venture between DotAsia Organisation Ltd. and HN Group. The two entities submitted their bid as a joint venture “with the intention to form the entity if ... successful in the tender”, according to applicants.

On 14 December 2010, HNET Asia Ltd. was formed as a joint venture between HN Group and DotAsia Organisation Ltd. (the current .ASIA TLD registry operator).

On 31 December 2010, the tender selection details were published in the Official Gazette of MSAR at http://images.io.gov.mo/bo/i/2010/52/despce-405-2010.pdf.

On 12 March 2011, prior to applying for redelegation from ICANN, HNET Asia Ltd. assumed responsibilities for running .MO ccTLD registry with the transfer of the MONIC from the University of Macau to the HNET Asia Ltd.

On 23 August 2011, the Order of the Secretary for Transport and Public Works No. 32/2011 “Regulation of Registration of Internet Domain Names in Macao Special Administrative Region” came into effect. The new legislation regulates how domains under .MO ccTLD should be registered.

On 9 September 2011, the Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation and HNET Asia Ltd. commenced a request to ICANN for redelegation of the “.MO” top-level domain. Since then a new request was lodged as applicants provided an updated proposal.

Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts

The proposed sponsoring organisation is the Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation (DSRT), the telecommunications regulatory body for the Macao Special Administrative Region under the supervision of the Secretary for Transport and Public Works. The applicant has stated that DSRT will not be responsible for day-to-day operations of .MO ccTLD. However, DSRT will play a role in the approval and establishment of the policies that regulate the .MO registry, as well as the selection and authorization of the operator of MONIC. At the same time HNET Asia Ltd. will be responsible for the technical operations of the .MO ccTLD registry and will be running the MONIC. The agreement signed between DSRT and HNET Asia Ltd. outlines the responsibilities of each party as well as the term.

The proposed administrative contact is Kelvin Kam, Technical Support, MONIC — HNET Asia. The proposed administrative contact is not a representative of DSRT. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Macao.

The proposed technical contact is Edmon Chung, Director, HNET Asia Ltd.

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 Macao.

Public Interest

Support for the application to delegate the domain was provided by Tou Veng Keong, Director of the Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation (DSRT) Macao Special Administrative Region.

No additional statements in support of this redelegation application were provided. The applicants, however, stated that the public tender process was conducted with “integrity, transparency and openness.”

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

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 Macao. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Macao. The applicant has asserted the registry will be operated inside Macao.

Stability

The request is deemed uncontested, with the currently listed sponsoring organisation consenting to the transfer. The transfer of the operations from the University of Macau to DSRT and HNET Asia Ltd. has already taken place without applying for a redelegation. Based on the information provided to us, HNET Asia Ltd. has been managing the .MO ccTLD as of 12 March 2011. As such, ICANN can not assess the transfer plan.

Competency

The application has provided satisfactory details on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the .MO 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.