Report on the Redelegation of the .ZM domain representing Zambia to Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority
1 February 2014
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 “ZM” ISO 3166-1 code is designated for use to represent Zambia.
Chronology of events
The currently designated manager for the .ZM top-level domain is ZAMNET Communication Systems Ltd, as described in the IANA Root Zone Database.
On 3 June 1994, the Communications Authority was established as a statutory body pursuant to the Telecommunications Act No. 469 of 1994. It was tasked with supervising and promoting the provision of telecommunication services throughout Zambia.
In August 2009, in accordance with the Information and Communication Technologies Act of 2009 the Communications Authority was renamed to Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA). According to the Act, ZICTA was to to continue its responsibilities to regulate the provision of electronic communication services and products and monitor the performance of the sector. In addition, the responsibility of administering and managing the .ZM domain name space was also assigned to ZICTA through the enactment of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2009.
In October 2010, ZICTA organized a meeting to officially communicate to the local Internet stakeholders the intention to automate the .ZM registry and to redelegate the ccTLD from ZAMNET to ZICTA.
In March 2012, another meeting was held between ZICTA and the stakeholders, where it was agreed that the governing documents for the .ZM ccTLD should be sent to the ISPs for review.
On 29 March 2013, a meeting was held between ZAMNET and ZICTA in order to facilitate a smooth transition of the .ZM domain to the new registry.
The transfer of the technical operations and the deployment of the new system of the .ZM registry took place in March 2013.
In May 2013, ZICTA held a meeting with local Internet stakeholders to commence the new system usage by all registrars. At this time ZICTA had taken over the management of the .ZM registry and ZAMNET was serving as a registrar for the domain.
In June 2013, a meeting was held between ZICTA, ZAMNET and the ISP Association of Zambia to agree on the submission of the redelegation request of the .ZM ccTLD to ICANN.
On 9 July 2013, ZICTA commenced a request to ICANN for redelegation of the .ZM top-level domain.
Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts
The proposed sponsoring organisation is Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority, a statutory body established under the repealed Telecommunications Act of 1994 and continued under the Information and Communication Technologies Act of 2009.
The proposed administrative and technical contact is Choolwe Andrew Nalubamba, Manager – Numbering and Naming for ZICTA. The contact is understood to be based in Zambia.
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 Zambia.
Support for the application to redelegate the domain was provided by Charity K. Ngoma, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications in Zambia. An additional statements in support of this redelegation were provided by the Internet Service Providers Association of Zambia (ISPAZ).
The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in Zambia.
The proposed sponsoring organisation undertakes responsibility to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.
Based in country
The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in Zambia. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Zambia. The registry is to be operated in the country.
The request is deemed uncontested, with the currently listed sponsoring organisation consenting to the transfer.
Based on the information submitted, ICANN staff has not identified any stability issues that would warrant a transfer plan given the operations of the .ZM registry has already been transferred successfully to the proposed sponsoring organization.
The application has provided satisfactory details on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the .ZM 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.