Report on the Delegation of the бел (“bel”) domain representing Belarus in Cyrillic script to Reliable Software Inc.
27 January 2015
This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function between the United States Government and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Under that contract, ICANN performs the “IANA functions”, which include receiving delegation and redelegation requests concerning TLDs, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, making its recommendations, and reporting actions undertaken in connection with processing such requests.
The “BY” ISO 3166-1 code from which the application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent Belarus.
The domain under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level is “бел”. This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--90ais”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0431 U +0435 U+43B.
The string is expressed using the Cyrillic script, and has a transliteration equivalent to “bel” in Latin script.
Chronology of events
On 10 March 1992, “Reliable Software” was founded as a private unitary enterprise. Initially, the main activity of the enterprise was software development in the bank sector.
In 2000, the legal name of the enterprise was changed to “Reliable Software, Inc.” In that same year, the enterprise created the Internet portal “TUT.BY”, which is currently claimed to be the most-frequented information resource in the ccTLD .BY.
In 2006, the enterprise began acting as a domain name registrar of .BY domains.
On 21 April 2008, the Operational and Analytical Center, a government agency under the President of the Republic of Belarus, was founded.
On 1 February 2010, Article 13 of Presidential Decree № 60 declared that the Operational and Analytical Center is the specially authorized state body in the field of secure use of the national Internet. The Operational and Analytical Center operates as the administrative contact, setting the rules and regulations and managing the legal framework of the бел top-level domain. Reliable Software, Inc. operates as the sponsoring organization and technical administrator, performing all other activities required to operate the domain.
The relationship between the administrative contact and sponsoring organization is regulated by the "Instruction on the order of domain names registration in the space of the hierarchical names of the national segment of the Internet network", approved by Executive Order № 47 of the Operational and Analytical Center under the President of the Republic of Belarus (18 June 2010).
On 7 January 2012, the .BY top-level domain was redelegated to Reliable Software, Inc.
On 12 June 2014 an application was made to the “IDN Fast Track” process to have the string “бел” recognized as the Cyrillic representation of Belarus.
On 26 August 2014, a review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that "the applied-for string ... present none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS identified in Module 4 of the Fast Track implementation plan, and present an acceptably low risk of user confusion". The request for the string to represent Belarus was subsequently approved.
On 10 November 2014 Reliable Software, Inc. commenced a request to ICANN for delegation of “бел” as a top-level domain.
Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts
The proposed sponsoring organisation is Reliable Software Inc., an entity established in 1992, specializing in hosting server management, IT consultation and development of custom web-based solutions.
The proposed administrative contact is Sergey Prokopov, Head of Department, Operational and Analytical Center, a government agency under the President of the Republic of Belarus. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Belarus.
The proposed technical contact is Sergey Povalishev, Head of Department, Reliable Software Inc.
Evaluation of the Request
The top-level domain is eligible for delegation under ICANN policy, as the string has been deemed an appropriate representation of Belarus through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and Belarus is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.
Reliable Software Inc., current sponsoring organization of the .BY top-level domain, was selected to manage the IDN ccTLD “бел" in accordance with the national legislation Operational and Analytical Center under the President of the Republic of Belarus.
Explicit government support for the application was provided in a letter signed by Sergei Kaparykha, Deputy Chief of the Operational and Analytical Center under the President of the Republic of Belarus, the government agency responsible for policy-making in the domain sphere.
Additional support was provided by the following:
- Belinkfokom, a nongovernmental organization consisting of a number of commercial entities from the field of information and communication technologies;
- Extmedia LLC, one of Belarus’ largest hosting providers;
- Infopark, an Association of 64 companies focused on the growth of the Belarusian segment of the Internet;
- TRIINCOM LLC, a local hosting provider;
- Active Cloud, a registrar;
- Business Network JV, a local ISP.
The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in Belarus. The proposed sponsoring organization undertakes to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.
Based in country
The proposed sponsoring organization is constituted in Belarus. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Belarus. The registry is to be operated in the country.
The application does not involve a transfer of domain operations from an existing domain registry, and therefore stability aspects relating to registry transfer have not been evaluated.
The application is not known to be contested.
The application has provided information on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the proposed new domain. The proposed operator is the current manager of .BY country-code top-level domain for Belarus.
Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.
ICANN is tasked with coordinating the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with the U.S. Government. This includes accepting and evaluating requests for delegation and redelegation 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 (ccTLDs), and are assigned by ICANN to responsible trustees (known as “Sponsoring Organisations”) that meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the trustee has from its local Internet community, its capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and its applicability under any relevant local laws.
Through ICANN’s IANA department, requests are received for delegating new ccTLDs, and redelegating or revoking existing ccTLDs. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, when appropriate, the requests are implemented and a recommendation for delegation or redelegation is made to the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
Purpose of evaluations
The evaluation of eligibility for ccTLDs, 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.
In considering requests to delegate or redelegate ccTLDs, 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 correctly. 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 relevant top-level domain.