Report on the Transfer of the .TZ (United Republic of Tanzania) top-level domain to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority
14 October 2019
This report is a summary of the materials reviewed as part of the process for the transfer of the .TZ (United Republic of Tanzania, hereinafter, “Tanzania”) 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.
The “TZ” ISO 3166-1 code from which the application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent Tanzania.
Chronology of events
Delegation of the .TZ top-level domain was completed in July 1995. Initial operations were conducted outside of the country, as was typical in countries with limited Internet connectivity at the time.
The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) was established under the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Act No. 12 of 2003 to regulate the telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services in Tanzania.
On 9 September 2005, the Tanzania Communications (Telecommunication Numbering and Electronic Address) Regulations 2005 were published under the Tanzania Communications Act 1993. The revised regulations provided that TCRA “shall maintain control of all electronic communication numbers and addresses and ensure fair and efficient use of them by ... maintaining the national .tz electronic Address and users.”
In July 2006, TCRA published “A Report on the .TZ Country-code Top-level Domain Management and Related Issues”. It found that “having in place a formally established entity representing the entire Internet community in the country” was best practice. It recommended that a non-profit limited company be established, whose sole purpose would be to “control, manage and operate” the .TZ top-level domain. Membership of this organization would be comprised solely of TCRA and the Tanzania Internet Service Providers Association (TISPA), an association of major ISPs operating in Tanzania.
To fulfill this recommendation, the Tanzania Network Information Centre Limited (tzNIC) was incorporated in Tanzania on 16 November 2006.
On 29 April 2010, the .TZ top-level domain was transferred to tzNIC. On 18 October 2018, the Members of tzNIC passed a special resolution to liquidate tzNIC and agreed to “execute the process of transferring the tzNIC functions to TCRA”. The decision was made after they confirmed that tzNIC had not fulfilled its financial sustainability goal and that TCRA could no longer financially support tzNIC. The resolution recognized that the “only way forward in compliance with the law was for tzNIC’s functions to be absorbed within TCRA in such a way that same present tzNIC staff would continue managing and administering the same .tz registry infrastructure within TCRA”.
On 3 June 2019, TCRA commenced a request for the transfer of the .TZ top-level domain.
Proposed Manager and Contacts
The proposed manager is the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority. It is a government agency responsible for regulating the telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services in Tanzania.
The proposed administrative contact is Connie Francis, Director of ICT and Application Services at TCRA. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Tanzania.
The proposed technical contact is Simon Msafiri Balthazar, Senior ICT Officer at TCRA.
Evaluation of the Request
The top-level domain is eligible for transfer as the string for Tanzania is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.
The incumbent manager is Tanzania Network Information Centre (tzNIC). Informed consent for the transfer of the .TZ top-level domain to TCRA was provided by Abibu Ntahigiye, former manager of tzNIC.
Government support was provided by Mrs. Maria Sasabo (PhD), Permanent Secretary (Communication) at the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication. Additional support letters were provided by the following:
- Nazar Nicholas Kirama, Secretary General of ISOC Tanzania Chapter
- Dr. Magreth Mushi, Executive Secretary of the Tanzania Education and Research Network
- Mzee H. Boma, General Manager of the Tanzania Internet Service Providers Association
The application is consistent with known applicable laws in Tanzania. 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 Tanzania. The administrative contact is understood to be a resident of Tanzania. The registry is to be operated in Tanzania.
The application is not known to be contested.
The application has provided information on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the domain.
Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.
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:
The domain should be operated within the country, including having its manager 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 manager 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 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.