Report on the Transfer of the .CO (Colombia) top-level domain to the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies

4 September 2020

This report is a summary of the materials reviewed as part of the process for the transfer of the .CO (Colombia) top-level domain. It includes details regarding the proposed transfer, evaluation of the documentation pertinent to the request, and actions undertaken in connection with processing the transfer.

Factual Information

Country

The “CO” ISO 3166-1 code from which the application’s eligibility derives is designated for use to represent Colombia.

Chronology of events

The .CO top-level domain was initially delegated to the Universidad de los Andes (hereinafter, “the University”) on 24 December 1991.

On 10 May 2002, the Ministry of Communications (hereinafter, “the Ministry”) issued Resolution 600 which resolved that the .CO top-level domain is a resource of the telecommunications sector, of public interest, under the planning, regulation, and control of the Colombian government, and that its administration could be carried out directly by the government or through third parties that demonstrate sufficient technical, administrative, and financial capacity.

On 10 July 2002, the State Council of Colombia issued a decision that the .CO top-level domain has a “notorious public interest”, that its administration is intrinsically associated with telecommunications, and that the national government is both qualified and competent to act in its planning, regulation, and control through the Ministry. It found that the Ministry committed an omission by allowing the University to manage the .CO top-level domain without the national government’s express authorization and without supervising its management. It also ordered the Ministry to assume directly, or through whoever it designated, the administration and management of the .CO top-level domain, and to issue the corresponding regulations.

In 2006, Law 1065 established that the .CO top-level domain is a resource of the telecommunications sector, of public interest, whose administration, maintenance, and development will be under the planning, regulation, and control of the State, through the Ministry, for the advancement of global telecommunications and its use by users. It also established that the registration of .CO domain names is an administrative function of the Ministry that may be outsourced to a third party.

On 21 February 2008, the Ministry issued Resolution 284, which adopted a “totally exclusive outsourcing” model for the administration of the .CO top-level domain.

On 30 July 2008, Resolution 600 of 2002 was superseded by Resolution 1652, which clarified that the Ministry’s role was to define policies and regulations, while a Contractor or Concessionaire would be responsible for the management and promotion of the .CO top-level domain.

In 2009, Law 1341 revoked Law 1065 of 2006 and established the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies (hereinafter, “MinTIC”) in its current form as the body in charge of Colombia’s public policy of telecommunications, radio, post, and information technologies. Article 18.20 assigned MinTIC the responsibility to “set the administration, maintenance and development policies for the Internet domain name under the country code corresponding to Colombia -.co-.”

MinTIC developed an international procurement process that resulted in the selection of .CO Internet S.A.S. (hereinafter, “.CO Internet”) to manage the .CO top-level domain under Concession Contract 019 of 2009. .CO Internet is a company incorporated under Colombian law, wholly owned by Registry Services LLC (a company incorporated in the United States), which is in turn a wholly-owned subsidiary of Neustar, Inc (a privately held American technology company).

In December 2009, IANA completed a request to transfer management of the .CO top-level domain from the University to .CO Internet.

On 25 July 2019, Congress passed Law 1978 which modified Article 18.20 of Law 1341 to provide that MinTIC will “set the administration, maintenance, and development policies, as well as manage the use of the Internet domain name under the code of the country corresponding to Colombia -.co-”. Under this authority, MinTIC embarked on a new framework that would allow it to take on a more operational role in the management of the .CO top-level domain.

In 2019, MinTIC initiated a public tender process to select a registry services provider for the .CO top-level domain. Many stakeholders participated in four rounds of public comments, including registry operators, registrars, technical experts, and other members of the local and international Internet communities. MinTIC analyzed, considered, and answered all of the questions and recommendations it received.

MinTIC received three applications from registry service providers during the public tender process and evaluated them according to several criteria, including the legal, financial, and technical requirements of the RFP, the applicants’ economic and technical proposals, national industry scores, and handicapped workers scores.

In late 2019, MinTIC reached out to ICANN and PTI about a potential transfer of the .CO top-level domain. The parties discussed the pending RFP and the ccTLD transfer process during an initial teleconference and then again at ICANN’s Annual General Meeting in Montréal.

On 5 February 2020, MinTIC issued Resolution 161 which modified the administration of the .CO top-level domain from a “totally exclusively outsourced model” to a “partially outsourced model”. Under the new model, MinTIC assumes a more active role as the manager of the .CO domain and will select a third party to provide domain registration services.

On 3 April 2020, MinTIC announced at a public hearing that it had selected .CO Internet to provide registry services under the 2020 Operation Contract.

On 14 July 2020, MinTIC initiated a request for the transfer of the .CO top-level domain.

Proposed Manager and Contacts

The proposed manager is the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies. It is based in Colombia.

The proposed administrative contact is Isabel Cristina De Ávila Benítez, Managing Director of MinTIC.

The administrative contact is understood to be based in Colombia.

The technical contact will remain unchanged and is Gonzalo Romero, Technical Manager of .CO Internet.

Evaluation of the Request

String Eligibility

The top-level domain is eligible for transfer as the string for Colombia is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.

Incumbent Consent

The incumbent manager is .CO Internet. Informed consent for the transfer of .CO top-level domain to MinTIC was provided by Eduardo Santoyo, Chief Executive Officer of .CO Internet.

Public Interest

Letters of support were provided by the following:

The application is consistent with known applicable laws in Colombia. The proposed manager undertakes the responsibility to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.

Based in Country

The proposed manager is constituted in Colombia. The administrative contact is understood to be a resident of Colombia.

Stability

The application is not known to be contested.

We have not identified any stability issues with this request. The incumbent manager, .CO Internet, will continue to provide domain name registry services for the .CO top-level domain through the Operation Contract 2020.

Competency

The application has provided information on the technical and operational infrastructures and expertise that will be used to operate the domain.

Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.

Evaluation Procedure

PTI is tasked with coordinating the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with ICANN. This includes accepting and evaluating requests for delegation and transfer of top-level domains.

A subset of top-level domains are designated for the significantly interested parties 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 to responsible managers that meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the manager has from its local Internet community, its capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and its applicability under any relevant local laws.

Through the IANA Services performed by PTI, requests are received for delegating new ccTLDs, and transferring or revoking existing ccTLDs. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, the requests are implemented where they are found to meet the criteria.

Purpose of Evaluations

The evaluation of eligibility for ccTLDs, and of evaluating responsible managers 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 transfer ccTLDs, input is sought regarding the proposed new manager, as well as from persons and organizations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated. The assessment is focused on the capacity for the proposed manager to meet the following criteria:

Method of Evaluation

To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed manager 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 manager to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed manager; and the nature of government support for the proposal.

After receiving this documentation and input, it is analyzed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed manager 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 manager’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries correctly. Should any anomalies be detected, PTI 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 manager and its suitability to operate the relevant top-level domain.