Report on the Transfer of the .VU (Vanuatu) top-level domain to Telecommunications Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator (TRBR)
25 February 2019
This report is a summary of the materials reviewed as part of the process for the transfer of the .VU (Vanuatu) 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 “VU” ISO 3166-1 code from which the application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent Vanuatu.
Chronology of events
The .VU top-level domain was initially delegated to Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) in the mid 1990’s. The exact delegation date is not clear as some delegation information predates the existence of ICANN and as such records are not available to verify the delegation date.
In 2009, the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu passed into law the “Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulations Act No. 30 of 2009”. The Act established the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator (TRR) and gives it the power to facilitate the development of the telecommunications and broadcasting sector and manage radio-frequency spectrum in order to promote national, social and economic development. In 2018, the Act was amended under “Amendment 22 of 2018” to become the “Telecommunications, Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulations Act 2018” and changed the name of TRR to the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator (TRBR).
On 13 December 2016, the Government passed regulations pertaining to the .VU domain name under “The Vanuatu Domain Name Management and Administration Regulation Order No 206 of 2016”. Part 3 of this order outlines the functions of the regulator, which includes requesting a transfer of the .VU ccTLD, selecting and designating the registry operator, and ensuring that the management and administration of the .VU ccTLD and its sub-domains is responsive to the needs of the Vanuatu Internet community.
On 26 April 2017 a formal MOU was signed between TRBR and the Domain Name Commission (DNC), a subsidiary operation of InternetNZ that performs the regulatory functions for .NZ (New Zealand) country-code top-level domain. InternetNZ has provided assistance to TRBR for a little over ten years and, under the MOU, agreed to provide further assistance relating to ccTLD regulatory functions.
On 13 October 2017, a public consultation on the .VU ccTLD draft principles commenced and the deadline for submissions was extended until 15 December 2017. The principles were developed to provide operating procedures in managing the .VU country-code top-level domain. The consultation document was sent to the heads of organizations representing various stakeholders. It was also publicly advertised on the daily post and TRBR’s website.
On 28 November 2017, during the TRR Regulatory Internet Forum, there was also a consultation on the “.VU Operations and Procedures” as explained by the applicant.
Following the transfer of the .VU (Vanuatu) top-level domain to TRBR as the TLD Manager, TRBR will select a new registry services operator. TRBR is holding an RFP and have submitted supporting documentation for the RFP and criteria that will be used to select the new operator. Telecom Vanuatu Limited will continue to serve as the technical contact and registry services operator until a new operator has been selected.
On 21 December 2018, TRBR commenced a request for the transfer of .VU top-level domain.
Proposed Manager and Contacts
The proposed manager is Telecommunications Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator (TRBR). It is based in Vanuatu.
The proposed administrative contact is John Obed Alilee, Regulator, TRBR.
The administrative contact is understood to be based in Vanuatu.
The technical contact will remain Robertson Sarki, TVL IANA Contact, Telecom Vanuatu Limited, until a new registry services operator is selected by TRBR through an RFP process.
Evaluation of the Request
The top-level domain is eligible for transfer as the string for Vanuatu is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.
Government support was provided by:
- Dr. Gregoire Nimbtik, Acting Director General, Prime Minister’s Office, Republic of Vanuatu.
Additional support letters were provided by the following:
- Vanuatu IT Users Society, a collaborative user group of ICT and Internet specialists from Vanuatu.
- WanTok Networks Ltd, an ISP in Vanuatu.
- Digicel Vanuatu Ltd, one of the largest telecommunications operators in Vanuatu.
The application is consistent with known applicable laws in Vanuatu. 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 Vanuatu. The administrative contact is understood to be a resident of Vanuatu. The registry is to be operated in Vanuatu.
The transition does not involve a transfer of domain operations from an existing domain registry, and therefore stability aspects relating to registry transfer are not relevant. TRBR is holding an RFP and have submitted supporting documentation for the RFP and criteria that will be used to select the new operator. Telecom Vanuatu Limited will continue to operate the registry until the new operator has been selected.
The application is not known to be contested.
The application has provided information on the technical and operational infrastructures 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 is 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.