The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (the IANA), as part of the administrative functions associated with management of the domain-name system root, is responsible for receiving requests for delegation and redelegation of top-level domains, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and reporting on the requests. In 2001, the IANA received a request from the current technical contact for the .bi (Burundi) country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) to change the sponsoring organization and change the technical contact to an entity within the sponsoring organization. This report gives the findings and conclusions of the IANA on its investigation of that request.
The .bi ccTLD was first delegated in October 1996 to Fabien Kayijuka as administrative contact and Frédéric Grégoire as technical contact. Mr. Kayijuka was associated with the IBPT Connectivite au reseau Internet of Bujumbura, Burundi. At the time of the initial delegation in 1996, Frédéric Grégoire, was associated with IZPT Connectivite au reseau Internet, an ISP located in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), which at the time operated the (.zr) Zaire ccTLD. Because Burundi was then dependent on infrastructure in Zaire for Internet connectivity, technical support for the .bi ccTLD was initially handled by Mr. Grégoire of IZPT.
In 1998, the role of administrative contact was transferred to Victor Ciza of Centre National de L'Informatique (CNI), who has served as administrative contact since that time.
On 6 September 2001, Mr. Ciza submitted a request to the IANA to change (among other items) the technical contact from Frédéric Grégoire to Felix Ndayirukiye, who is associated with CBINET s.a., a subsidiary of CNI providing Internet services in Burundi. The request also sought to amend the listed sponsoring organization to read only Centre National de l'Informatique (CNI), the entity in Burundi. (The listed sponsoring organization currently includes a reference to Interpoint SARL, a Swiss organization with which Mr. Grégoire is associated.) Thus, the effect of the requests was to shift away from out-of-country operation of the .bi ccTLD and to an in-country technical contact and sponsoring organization. The existing technical contact, Frédéric Grégoire, agreed to these changes, as did Mr. Ciza.
Consultations were conducted within Burundi regarding this change, which indicated significant support for moving the operation of the .bi ccTLD into Burundi, and for the continued operation of the ccTLD by CNI. In view of the proposed shift in the delegated authority over the .bi domain, discussions ensued regarding establishing more formal accountability regarding the delegation. By early 2002, CNI and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers had successfully negotiated a memorandum of understanding under which the informal arrangements under which Mr. Ciza and Mr. Grégoire had been delegated responsibility for the .bi domain would be replaced with a formally documented delegation of the .bi ccTLD to CNI. After the Ministry of Communication of the Republic of Burundi endorsed the redelegation to CNI and the entry of the memorandum of understanding in March 2002, the memorandum was entered as of 16 May 2002.
This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the IANA function between the United States Government and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Under that contract, ICANN performs the IANA function, which includes receiving delegation and redelegation requests concerning ccTLDs, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and reporting on the requests.
In acting on redelegation requests, the IANA currently follows the practices summarized in "Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation" (ICP-1). ICP-1 represents an update of the portions of RFC 1591 (which was issued in March 1994) dealing with ccTLDs, and reflects subsequent documents and evolution of the policies followed by the IANA through May 1999.
In considering delegation or redelegation of a ccTLD, the IANA seeks input from persons significantly affected by the transfer, particularly those within the nation or territory which the ccTLD has been established to benefit. As noted in ICP-1, the parties affected include especially the relevant government or public authority: "The desires of the government of a country with regard to delegation of a ccTLD are taken very seriously. The IANA will make them a major consideration in any TLD delegation/transfer discussions."
Mr. Ciza's longstanding service as administrative contact, working under the auspices of CNI, has demonstrated their commitment to serving the Burundi Internet community. This commitment has been further demonstrated by CNI's willingness to enter into the memorandum of understanding providing formal accountability for its stewardship of the .bi ccTLD. It is also reinforced by the support of the Burundi government.
As the Internet has grown within Burundi, it is appropriate that a technical contact within Burundi be formally designated, reflecting the shift in technical operations from outside the country to within. The IANA's review indicates that CBINET and Mr. Ndayirukiye possess the technical competence to carry out assignment of domain names and operation of nameservers. The presently listed technical contact, Mr. Grégoire has endorsed designation of Mr. Ndayirukiye as technical contact. CNI, which has accepted accountability for the ccTLD under its memorandum of understanding, has designated Mr. Ndayirukiye as such.
The shifting of ccTLD delegations from individuals that have been designated informally as administrative and technical contacts to organizations operating under written agreements or memoranda of understanding is a positive step toward the stable and professional operation of ccTLDs in the public interest. As the Internet becomes increasingly important to global society, it is important that a framework of accountability be established for the operation of all top-level domains, both to promote the global interoperability of the domain-name system and to ensure that the interests of local Internet communities are well-served.
In February 2000, the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) issued a document entitled "Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains," commonly known as the "GAC Principles." These principles serve as "best practices" to guide governments in assuming proper roles with respect to the Internet's naming system, which the GAC has observed is a public resource to be administered in the public interest. In general, they recognize that each government has the ultimate responsibility within its territory for its national public-policy objectives, but also that ICANN has the responsibility for ensuring that the Internet domain-name system continues to provide an effective and interoperable global naming system.
The GAC Principles guide governments on how to responsibly structure their relations with ccTLD managers (see clauses 5.5 and 9). The GAC Principles recommend that governments and ICANN pursue their respective roles by creating a framework for accountability memorialized in communications with each other and with the ccTLD manager (see clause 2). In this case, however, the Burundi government has expressed its support for entry of a bilateral memorandum of understanding between CNI and ICANN. These bilateral arrangements promote the DNS's stable and reliable operation by allowing for accountable operation by the manager, pending appropriate expression by the relevant government or public authority for participation in a triangular arrangement (see GAC Melbourne Communiqué part B (10 March 2001)).
The IANA concludes that the .bi ccTLD should be redelegated, as requested, from the current delegees to Centre National de l'Informatique (CNI). The administrative and technical contacts should be recorded as Victor Ciza and Felix Ndayirukiye, as designated by CNI under its memorandum of understanding with ICANN.
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