ICANN has received a request to delegate مصر as a country-code top-level domain representing Egypt, to the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA). ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.
The “EG” ISO 3166-1 code, from which this application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent Egypt.
The domain under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level is “مصر”. This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the 2003 IDNA specification as “xn--wgbh1c”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0645 (Meem) U+0635 (Sad) U+0631 (Reh).
In Arabic language, the string has a meaning equivalent to “Egypt” in English. Its pronunciation in English is transliterated as “Misr”. The string is expressed using Arabic script.
In the second quarter of 2009, the applicant states that they conducted an informal consultation process with relevant stakeholders, to discuss three potential options: establishment of a registry within that National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority; outsourcing a registry function to the current operator of .EG; or outsourcing a registry function to a private sector or other non-governmental entity. The consultation resulted in a view the “ASCII ccTLD has many shortcomings that still need to be worked out and its operator can therefore not be burdened with the operation of the new IDN ccTLD”, and that no good option could be found for another entity to run the registry.
In November 2009, an application was made to the new “IDN Fast Track” process to have the string “مصر” recognised as representing Egypt. Letters of support for the string were received from the Egyptian Information Telecommunication Electronics and Software Alliance, Nile University, TE Data, Linkdotnet, and the National Telecommunication Institute - an enterprise of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
On 6 January 2010, review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that “the applied-for string and declared variants associated with the application from [Egypt] (a) present none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS ... and (b) present an acceptably low risk of user confusion”. The request for the string to represent Egypt was subsequently approved.
On 31 January 2010, NTRA presented an application to ICANN for delegation of “مصر” as a top-level domain.
The proposed sponsoring organisation is the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, a governmental entity within the Government of Egypt. It is located at Smart Village, B4 K28, Cairo-Alex Desert Road, 6th October, Cairo, Egypt.
The proposed administrative contact is Manal Ismail, Director of International Technical Coordination of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Egypt.
The proposed technical contact is Christine Arida, Director of Telecom Services and Planning of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.
The top-level domain “مصر” is eligible for delegation under ICANN policy, as the string has been deemed an appropriate representation of Egypt through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and Egypt is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.
The Government of Egypt is in support of this application. This support was formally conveyed by Dr Hoda Baraka, First Deputy to the Minister of Communications and Information Technology. The Government’s support has been shared by the applicant in the form of an online webcast (see http://www.mcit.gov.eg/View.aspx?id=6eGSboJvCFQ=), and statements by Dr Tarek Kamel, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, during the 2009 Internet Governance Forum held in Sharm-el-Sheikh. There is no specific governing legislation concerning operation of the domain, however, NTRA is charged generally with administering the telecommunications sector under the 2003 telecommunications regulation law. Agreement was reached for this approach with the Minister of Higher Education, which is responsible for .EG operation today.
Selection of the proposed sponsoring organisation was not the result of an explicit consultative process with the community. The Government undertook to make the application under the auspices of their general regulatory remit, and have stated that they “own” the domain under Egyptian law. This is the same general remit that permits regulation of Internet and mobile telephone services.
The applicant undertakes that outreach was performed with all sectors of the community but has not documented this approach to ICANN, as it has stated that it can not share information regarding this outreach, such as the minutes of meetings, without the “consensus of every single person who was present during those meetings”. NTRA have stated that their intention to apply for the delegation was announced “nationally and internationally”, and with this visibility, they are not aware of any objections to their request. Two of the largest ISPs in the country, with aggregate market share of over 85%, support the delegation of the domain to NTRA.
According to the application, policy for the domain is not settled and still a matter of ongoing development and discussion. The applicant has stated that a policy committee has been constructed with membership from “all stakeholder groups” to set this policy, but its work has not concluded on the foundational policy for the proposed domain. The committee is compreside of representatives from NTRA, EUN, registrars, ISPs, the trademark authority, as well as independent legal and technical experts. NTRA has undertaken that policy developed by the committee will be transparently announced and equally applied, and that under the registrar license its resellers are obligated to operate in a non-discriminatory manner.
The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in Egypt. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Egypt. The registry is to be operated in the country.
This 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.
Name servers are located on two topologically diverse networks, but within the same geographic area. This meets the formal minimum standard for diversity within the authoritative server set. The main disaster recovery provision the applicant has stated is of periodic backups made offsite, however, principal operations are all in the same physical location.
The application is not known to be contested.
The proposed sponsoring organisation does not have prior domain registry operation experience of a scale applicable to operation of a top-level domain. The applicant has undertaken that their staff have the necessary skills to run the domain registry by virtue of operating domains such as “ntra.gov.eg” within the Ministry. It is also stated that the staff are highly skilled by virtue of running an Arabic domain name pilot within the NTRA’s labs. The proposed contacts for the domain have been involved in other Internet ventures in Egypt, including developing policy for .EG.
The proposal stated that an open source registry software vendor has been engaged to provide registry software, with a support contract to help launch the registry platform. Further, the applicant plans to launch the domain gradually with a sunrise process prior to the full launch of open registration. It is anticipated at a later stage a registry platform from a commercial software vendor will be used, and a migration to this registry platform will need to be conducted at a later date.
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.
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 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:
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.