Redelegation of the Redelegation of the .GA domain representing Gabon to Agence Nationale des Infrastructures Numériques et des Fréquences
29 March 2013
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 “GA” ISO 3166-1 code is designated for use to represent Gabon.
Chronology of events
The .GA domain was first delegated in 1994 to the RIPE Network Coordination Centre. In 1998, the domain was redelegated to the Office des Postes et Télécommunications de la République Gabonaise (OPT). The sponsoring organisation for the .GA domain was changed in 2004 to Gabon Telecom, reflecting the split of OPT into separate posts and telecommunications divisions.
In 2007, Gabon Telecom was privatised. The applicant has stated that, because of the privatisation and consequent reorganisations and reprioritisations, the development of .GA registry operations has not been Gabon Telecom’s first priority. This has necessitated the transfer of the management of the .GA domain.
On 27 January 2011, Agence Nationale des Infrastructures Numériques et des Fréquences (ANINF) was established by Presidential Decree No. 0212/PR as a public administrative agency. The agency is comprised of the combination of the National Agency for Information Technology, the National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies and the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency. ANINF’s mandate is to provide “installation and management of shared national infrastructure and resources in the fields of telecommunications, audiovisual and computers” and to “manage the Internet domain of Gabon .GA”, amongst others.
In January 2012, ANINF became involved in the management of the .GA domain and began handling all new registrations of domains under the .GA domain.
An Advisory Group was created to ensure that the policies and projects of ANINF serve the community in Gabon. Stakeholders are invited to participate and give feedback at group meetings, which are expected to take place at least three times per year. The first meeting of the group was held in Libreville on 11 September 2012.
On 15 November 2012, ANINF commenced a request to ICANN for redelegation of the .GA top-level domain.
Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts
The proposed sponsoring organisation is Agence Nationale des Infrastructures Numériques et des Fréquences (ANINF), a public administrative agency of the government of Gabon.
The proposed administrative contact is Cyriaque D. Kouma, Project Manager of the Gabonese Internet Domain Project (DIG) at ANINF. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Gabon.
The proposed technical contact is Dorian B. Mouket, Manager of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at ANINF.
Evaluation of the Request
The top-level domain is eligible for continued delegation under ICANN policy, as it is the assigned ISO 3166-1 two-letter code representing Gabon.
Support for the application to redelegate the domain was provided by Blaise Louembe, the Minister de l'Économie Numérique, de la Communication et de la Poste in Gabon. Additional statements in support of this redelegation were provided from SOS Consommateurs (a consumer advocate group), DIGICOM (a local ISP), and Institut de Recherches Initiatique et Noumenale Avancees (IRINA, a non-governmental organisation).
The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in Gabon.
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 Gabon. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Gabon. The registry is to be operated in the country.
The request is deemed uncontested, with the currently listed sponsoring organisation consenting to the transfer.
The appropriate transfer plan has been provided. Based on the information submitted, ICANN staff evaluated stability aspects relating to registry transfer and does not see any stability issues given all parties act in accordance with the agreed upon transfer plan.
The application has provided satisfactory details on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the .GA domain. 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.